Austin becomes Texas' first 'Freedom City'

Austin City Council passes "Freedom City" resolutions to protect minorities while interacting with police (Photo: CBS Austin)

Austin City Council has unanimously passed what are being called "Freedom City" resolutions.

They aim to prevent unfair treatment of minorities when they interact with police.

Dozens of people signed to speak with City Council in favor of both of these resolutions.

Groups including Grassroots Leadership, Workers Defense Project and United We Dream say minorities across the country and here in Austin aren't treated fairly when it comes to arrests or interactions with police.

The first resolution passed would eliminate discretionary arrests for non-violent misdemeanors like possession of a small amount of marijuana. Instead, police would issue citations.

That comes after a new study shows minorities are arrested for these crimes twice as much as white people

The second resolution passed would require Austin police to better prioritize who is sent to federal immigration authorities after an arrest.

“We are excited about our victory tonight. This is an important first step for the city to take,” says Rebecca Sanchez of Grassroots Leadership. “This is a long term struggle and we are in part one of what is actually a decathlon. We’re committed to fighting for a city where we redefine safety for ourselves — and not through badges, and where we determine how our communities thrive.”

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