Sunday, August 02, 2020

TX: Armed Agitators Block Street in Austin: 1 Shot, Killed

Austin Texas Police Chief Brian Manley 26 July, 2020


Link to video

A little before 10 p.m. in Austin Texas, on 25 July, 2020,  a crowd of activists/protestors/agitators were apparently illegally walking/marching in the street in Austin, Texas. One of the participants, Garrett Foster, 28 was carrying an AK47 style rifle.  At least one other person in the mob was armed. While there are many lights on in the city, it is at night, not daylight.

A vehicle turned the corner onto Congress Avenue, encountering the street blocked by numerous persons. The vehicle horn was honked. Multiple people surrounded the vehicle, which had stopped, and started striking the vehicle.

There is no indication anyone was struck by the vehicle. 

One of the persons who approached the vehicle was Garrett Foster, with the AK47 style rifle he was carrying.  Foster was reported as approaching the driver's side window.

In the subsequent interview with police, the driver said Foster pointed the AK47 at him, and he responded by shooting Foster several times. The crowd scattered and the vehicle fled the scene. As the vehicle drove off, another person in the crowd fired several shots at the vehicle.

In the video on Youtube, there is a sequence of about five shots, followed by another sequence of about three shots.


Link to video

The driver quickly called 911, reporting the situation, as did multiple other people. Police at the scene responded to the shooting within seconds, and gave emergency care to Foster. Foster later died at the hospital.

Police Chief Brian Manley said a new tactic used at this protest was a number of vehicles following the mob, which blocked police cars from getting close to the agitators.  When a police car attempted to get closer to the shooting scene, one of the cars blocked it from going forward.

Officers at the scene interviewed numerous witnesses, who gave several different versions of events.

It does not appear that any of the drivers who where blocking police cars were arrested, nor were any of the agitators blocking the street arrested.

Blocking public right of ways and blocking police vehicles are criminal acts. As activities which block two or more city blocks require a permit to be applied for 120 days in advance, it is highly likely the agitators did not have a permit. From
Sec. 42.03. OBSTRUCTING HIGHWAY OR OTHER PASSAGEWAY. (a) A person commits an offense if, without legal privilege or authority, he intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly:

(1) obstructs a highway, street, sidewalk, railway, waterway, elevator, aisle, hallway, entrance, or exit to which the public or a substantial group of the public has access, or any other place used for the passage of persons, vehicles, or conveyances, regardless of the means of creating the obstruction and whether the obstruction arises from his acts alone or from his acts and the acts of others;
It is a defense of the above statute if the action is for speech or other communications, if persons in authority have not ordered the group of people to "move, disperse, or otherwise remedy the violation".

It is not known if the police had ordered the protestors/mob to disperse. Chief Manley did not mention such an order in his Youtube interview.

The actions of the protestors/mob seem to have been condoned by Austin authorities, which would explain the lack of arrests in this tragic case. There may be a lawsuit in the City of Austin's future.

Consider the position of the driver. He is driving on public streets, and is blocked by a mob of numerous persons who angrily beat on his vehicle. He is where he has a right to be; they appear to be breaking the law. He says a person with an AK47 pointed the rifle at him.  Several people in his position have be shot, shot at, or dragged from the vehicle and beaten.

Given the circumstance, it is difficult to believe a grand jury, even in Austin, Texas, would indict him.

Consider the other shooter from the crowd. They fired at a vehicle leaving the scene, which was no longer a threat to anyone. The possibility of them facing charges for aggravated assault, attempted murder, reckless endangerment, or simply shooting inside city limits, seems plausible.

Leftist news outlets, such as the BBC, are irresponsibly quoting selected witnesses from the scene as saying the driver shot Foster without provocation.  From the BBC:
Garrett Foster was pushing his fiancée's wheelchair at the protest when a car drove into the crowd, his mother Sheila Foster told US media.

As demonstrators approached the car, someone inside the vehicle opened fire on the group.
Later, the BBC mentions that Foster was carrying an AK47 style rifle. Ironically, Foster is quoted as speaking to independent journalist Hiram Gilberto Garcia, not long before the shooting:
They don't let us march in the streets anymore, so I got to practice some of our rights," he said, on a social media live stream. "(But) if I use it against the cops, I'm dead." 
The police and Austin government were allowing the protestors/mob to march in the streets. It is arguably the proximate cause of the shooting.

If the participants had not been blocking the street, if they had not swarmed the car, it is unlikely the shooting would have occurred.

It appears Foster and the two shooters all had Texas carry permits. Foster's mother said he had a permit, and Police Chief Manley states the two shooters had permits.

Austin Mayor Steve Adler used the event to claim there are "too many guns".

Police Chief Manley has asked for people to submit any video or photographic evidence they may have to the police, as the investigation is ongoing.

No one has been arrested at this time.

©2020 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

Gun Watch


Mein Kampf said...

“I have killed many Mexicans; I do not know how many, for frequently I did not count them. Some of them were not worth counting. It has been a long time since then, but still I have no love for the Mexicans. With me they were always treacherous and malicious.” — Geronimo, My Life: The Autobiography of Geronimo, 1905.

Cory C. said...

While you’re right that the victim’s family may attempt to sue, a lawsuit against the city won’t likely go anywhere. The Texas Tort Claims Act provides waivers to sovereign immunity (meaning, the government waives its immunity and allows you to sue it under very specific circumstances) but also imposes a damages cap. The best his family could hope for under Texas law is $250,000 (the cap is $250k per injured person, and $500k per incident irrespective of the number of victims, but Texas courts have interpreted this to mean that, irrespective of the number of wrongful death claimants, there is but one wrongful death claim that is derivative of the underlying injury, and therefore the lower limit of the caps applies). It’s not uncommon for Texas lawyers to try to contort the facts and make an argument that whatever harm was caused to a citizen by the government is actually a violation of the citizen’s civil rights under the Constitution. This allows the lawyer to sue pursuant to federal law, which has no damages cap. But these cases routinely fail for all the obvious reasons, and often result in the claimants being forced to cover the government’s legal fees. In short, they can try to sue the city over this incident, but they’ll have a hard time finding a viable cause of action that enables them to make a recovery. What seems far more likely is that a lawyer will take the case, bloviate in front of the news cameras in hyperbolic terms, then dump the case once the media attention goes away.