Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Statement from Mayor Kirk Watson on Declaration of Mistrial in Officer Christopher Taylor Case

“This mistrial will leave just about everyone frustrated, but we can’t let this outcome divide our city,” Mayor Kirk Watson said. "The last few days have intensified the community conversation around public safety and policing, and I understand and support everyone’s right to make their feelings known and their voices heard. I ask that we express our views and emotions in a way that is safe and constructive to the dialogue that needs to continue.

"We have come a long way in terms of policing policies, training and how transparent the City is and will be when these types of incidents occur. We have farther to go. I acknowledge that and, as Mayor, I will continue to push these efforts forward. I can tell you that, from the Chief to rank-and-file officers, those that serve the Austin community are dedicated to wholesale change and a new way of policing that focuses on building trust within the community, improving communication, implementing de-escalation tactics, and understanding mental health needs. Their – and my - number one priority is creating a safer city for everyone.

“And to our police officers, let me say that this community supports you and wants you to be a part of our efforts to create a safer city for all. We need you.

"Finally, I want to thank the members of the jury for their service and time. This was a very weighty and significant decision that was placed on their shoulders, and I appreciate their diligence. I also appreciate Judge Blazey's work. The jury and the judge are important components to our system of justice and we are reliant on them."