AUSTIN (KXAN) — One week after Austin police officers shot and injured a man in east Austin, the man’s family says they have not been allowed to see their loved one in the hospital.
“They won’t give us any access, we’re not getting any logical explanation, we’re not getting any good reasoning why the mother can’t even see him. It’s just ridiculous,” Cluren Williams, Lawrence Parrish’s older brother says. “[They] kicked us while we’ve been down. Through this whole entire process, we have not been allowed to see my brother at all.”
While Parrish, 31, is in the hospital, he is still considered an inmate and remains under the supervision of the Travis County Sheriff’s Office. A department spokesperson tells KXAN they allow visitation of hospitalized inmates on a case-by-case basis. The spokesperson says they follow extreme safety protocols because hospitals are not environments that can be controlled like a jail. In the jails, there is video visitation and phone visits are typically recorded. TCSO would not elaborate on why Parrish’s family isn’t being allowed to see him.
Williams says Parrish was shot at least nine times and all the gunshot wounds were to his upper body. According to an arrest affidavit, police only indicated that he was shot several times.
On the night of the shooting, April 14, Interim Chief of Police Brian Manley said Parrish fired shots at them leading to an exchange of gunfire with four officers at his apartment on Parliament Drive. Three days later, Manley reversed course and said Parrish never actually fired his rifle at all, although he did “raise the rifle toward” officers.
“This [rifle] is what the officer saw as he came to the door and he was holding this in his arm. Reportedly, the first time he came out, he had this pointed in a downward direction,” Manley said during Monday’s press conference. “Again, as I stated, that third time when he came out he raised that rifle in the direction of our officers, and our officers fired upon him at that point.”
Williams is concerned police may not be handling the case with enough transparency.
“The police don’t have any footage to go off of, the police only have what the police say,” Williams said. APD said the cameras on the patrol vehicles did not capture the shooting, however, the full audio was captured.
Right now, Williams wants one thing. “Come out and tell us you did wrong, come out and say that you messed up, come out here and say it’s our fault and we’re going to do what we have to do to fix it.”
Parrish is facing a charge of assaulting an officer. Williams is holding a fundraiser to help his brother on Sunday, April 16 at 4 p.m. at Givens Park. For more information, visit their Facebook Page here.
Transparency in Officer Involved Shootings
The family’s concerns come on the heels of an announcement by the Travis County District Attorney pledging more transparency in oofficer-involved shootings.
District Attorney Margaret Moore announced she is launching a special Civil Right’s investigation unit that will focus solely on showing transparency to family members of people involved in officer shootings.
The Civil Rights Division (CRD) will respond to an officer-involved shooting scene, observe an investigation and be around to ask questions about the handling of a case, taking an objective look to determine if an officer committed a crime. The unit will also respond to any ‘use of force’ case. Moore said the Austin Police Department’s standard Special Investigation’s Unit will still review cases.
“These changes have been adopted by me in order to expedite resolution of these investigations – and permit us to release information to the affected families to the families and public as soon as possible,” Moore said.”It will streamline things. And my hope is that it will also inspire the communities confidence that we are approaching this correctly.”