Gov. Greg Abbott has appointed an indicted Austin police officer accused of using excessive force during 2020 protests to Texas’ regulatory law enforcement agency.
Justin Berry was among 19 Austin police officers indicted earlier this year in the protests spurred by the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer. Berry is charged with two counts of aggravated assault by a public servant.
He also ran as a Republican for Texas House District 19 but lost this year in the primary runoff election. Abbott had endorsed Berry in the race, saying his “strong conservative values and experience stopping violent crime are exactly what we need in the Texas House.”
Now, at the governor’s hand, Berry will serve on the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement, which sets minimum licensing and training standards for police. Abbott did not immediately respond to The Texas Tribune’s request for comment. Still, in a press release announcing Berry’s appointment Friday, he said the commission ensures “that the people of Texas are served by highly trained and ethical law enforcement, corrections, and telecommunications personnel.” Berry posted a statement to Twitter on Friday but did not respond to requests for comment.
“The demands and expectations of today’s professional police officer have never been so great,” Berry said about his appointment via Twitter. “I look forward to ensuring Texas has the best police officers in the world. Ensuring those who answer the call to serve their respective communities have the training and resources necessary to be set up for success are a priority to not only keeping Texans safe but ensuring trust is earned and maintained by those very communities.”