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1 Indicted Austin Police Officer is Appointed to TCOLE by Texas Governor
On August 5, 2022, the Texas Governor, Greg Abbott, appointed Jerry Berry to the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE). Per a press release by the Governors Office, the following was stated about Justin Berry:
Justin Berry of Austin is a senior police officer for the Austin Police Department. He is a former Vice President of the Austin Police Association and a supporter of Operation Blue Santa. Additionally, he is a member of CLEAT and the Texas Narcotic Officers Association. Berry received a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and a master’s degree in leadership and management from Sam Houston State University. He completed his basic peace officer training at the Austin Police Academy and has a Texas master peace officers license from TCOLE.
Austin Police Officer Justin Berry was Indicted on February 17, 2022, for Suspected Act(s) of Violence While On-Duty
Austin Police Officer Justin Berry was accused of causing “serious bodily injury,” to Christen Warkoczewski, “by shooting,” her. The indictment claims on or about May 31, 2022, Berry was acting as an Austin Police Department Police Officer, acting under the color of his office and employment when the suspected act(s) occurred.
In a second count of the indictment, Berry was accused by attempt to shoot Warkoczewski.
Warkoczewski Settles Federal Civil Rights Lawsuit with the City of Austin
On June 27, 2022, Warkoczewski and the City of Austin agreed to a settlement of damages Warkoczewski was subjected too at the hands of Austin Police Department Police Officers. The settlement was filed in the United States District Court, Western District of Texas, Austin Division in Civil Action No: 1:21-cv-00739.
The City of Austin and Warkoczewski agreed to settle the complaint for $850,000.00.
Warkoczewski’ s Complaint Does Not Specifically Name Berry
The complaint filed in federal court on or about August 25, 2021, does not specifically name Justin Berry. The lawsuit does name various other officers and states other unnamed officers were involved.
The complaint claimed Warkoczewski attended a demonstration “to lend her voice to the chorus demonstrating against police violence. … While Warkoczewski was demonstrating, [Austin Police Department] Officers shot tear gas canisters toward the crowd of protestors… Warkocewski picked up a traffic cone and placed it on top of on of the tear gas canisters near her. Immediately after she did this, Warkoczewski began to run away from the cone…. Warkoczewskiw was unarmed. Yet at least one [Austin Police Department] officer inexplicably and unreasonably shot Warkocewski in the face with a dangerous projectile ‘beanbag’ shotgun round.”
Austin Police Department Cadets are Taught to View the Community as the Enemy
Per the complaint, “[a] report commissioned by the City [of Austin] found that officers were trained to see ‘the Austin community [as] the enemy.” “[Austin Police Department] had a long-standing policy of paramilitary training its officers to act as ‘warriors,’ and see conflict with members of the public as inevitable as part of an ‘us vs. them’ culture.”
“Officers were trained to be ‘indifferent to the community,’ according to [the] report commissioned by the City [of Austin].” “ [Austin Police Department’s] training academy taught cadets – who later became [Austin Police Department] officers – to act as if they were at war with the community they were supposed to be protecting. In one incident, an academy instructor told cadets that if ‘anyone here says they want to be a police officer to ‘help people,’ I will punch you in the face.”
“Another instructor told cadets to ‘pick someone out of a crowd, and ask yourself, how could I kill that person?”
“Unsurprisingly, the report further found that ‘the culture of a police training academy reflects the culture of a department and impacts the mindset and approach to policing.”
Now the TCOLE will have at least one member supposedly trained with the mindset to view policing as martial law. All while this appointed member awaits deliberation of his pending indictment.
A Couple of Our Other Reads
You may be interested in learning about a Texas Peace Officer being sued for claims he sexually assaulted a female during a period of emergency detention.
Or you may find the Texas Attorney General’s attempt to get the Texas Supreme Court to help with his Whistleblower lawsuit, of interest.
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