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Austin approves $2.95M settlement for teen injured by police

March 3, 2022 GMT

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Austin officials approved a nearly $3 million settlement Thursday for a teen who was seriously injured by police during 2020 protests over racial injustice — the Texas capital city’s latest response to criticism of its handling of demonstrations in which 19 officers have been charged with aggravated assault.

Then-16-year-old Brad Ayala was watching the protest when an officer shot him in the head with a beanbag round. The settlement brings the total amount Austin officials have approved for people injured in the May 2020 protests to over $13 million.

A spokeswoman for the city confirmed the total but declined further comment.

Last month, the city agreed to pay $10 million to two people injured by police during protests that followed the May 25, 2020, police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Hours later, a Travis County grand jury indicted 19 officers for their actions during the protests.

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One of the of the indicted officers allegedly fired the beanbag round that hit Ayala. Two of the other indicted officers were involved in the other two cases that were settled.

Local doctors warned Austin police of the danger of “less lethal” munitions following the protests. They say at least 19 people were hospitalized in Austin for injuries from such weapons. The police chief at the time, Brian Manley, vowed that officers would stop using beanbag rounds in crowd control situations.

The prosecutor who is pursuing the charges against officers, Travis County Districty Attorney Jose Garza, campaigned in 2020 on a promise to take a tougher stance on police accountability.