Austin, Texas Policeman Justin Berry is running for a State House seat even as he is one of 19 local officers under indictment by a George Soros-funded DA for actions taken while under assault during the George Floyd riots in 2020. Travis County District Attorney José Garza, a member of the Democratic Socialists of America Party, issued the largest number of indictments last week against any single US Police Department for actions related to the death of George Floyd by a Minneapolis officer. Indictments came immediately after the Austin city government approved a $10 million settlement with two people injured by bean bags during the protests.
Berry recounts he and fellow officers being under attack while “responding to a riot” by protesters throwing Molotov cocktails and bottles filled with urine, among other projectiles being hurled at them. The political candidate says actions taken by officers were legal, and the DA’s actions are merely part of a wide-scale attack on the law enforcement community. Berry insists that, while the far-left protesters and their political allies failed in defunding law enforcement, they instead are “trying to indict us.”
The Texas Tribune believes the indictments help Berry run for political office. It notes that the central Texas district is mainly white and Republican, and many believe the indictments boost the 14-year police veteran’s campaign. Cal Jillson, a Political Scientist at Southern Methodist University, calls the charges “rocket fuel” for the officer’s push for the Texas House and notes that voters have not had “a lot of sleep loss or concern” over police defending themselves in Austin.
Berry has a better-than-average shot at winning the District 19 seat even if accused of using excessive force. The district was reconfigured during redistricting in 2021, and former President Donald Trump would have carried it in its present form by almost 40 percentage points in 2020. A statewide poll in 2020, during the height of racial unrest across the country, showed stark differences by race and party affiliation in how law enforcement is perceived. The numbers showed that 84% of Republicans positively viewed the police, and 30% of Democrats responded the same way. White voters had a 69% favorable impression of their law enforcement officers, but only 33% of Black voters said the same.
Berry says his campaign is focused on his experience being raised by a single mom working three jobs to provide, faith in God, and the desire to protect neighborhoods, schools, and private property. Meanwhile, District Attorney Garza ran on holding police “accountable.”