Austin: Head of Police Union uses Garrett Foster’s Death to call for State Repression against Activists

By Ed Dalton

On Sunday, Austin Police Association president Kenneth Casaday made an inflammatory tweet on the murder of Garrett Foster in which he blamed both Foster and the Mike Ramos Brigade (MRB) for the incident.

“Please watch this video. This is the guy that lost his life last night. He was looking for confrontation and he found it. The Feux [sic] Mike Ramos Brigade needs to be stopped. The only people out of control during this incident was the Feux [sic] Brigade.”

Casaday has since been compelled to publicly apologize to the family of Foster, but has issued no apology for the attempt to blame MRB contained in the tweet mocking Foster’s death.

Casaday is among Austin’s most backward officials. As the head of the police union he has called for officers to refuse to work protests unless they are allowed to use teargas and rubber bullets. The claim that “Mike Ramos Brigade needs to be stopped” can only be read as a direct attack on the movement for Black lives, as MRB is one of the main organizations in the city leading the almost daily protests against the police.

To be attacked by the enemy is a good thing. Casaday is aware of the threat to his funding caused in part by MRB and singles them out as one of Austin’s most militant groups fighting against police violence and systemic racism in their pursuit of people’s justice for Mike Ramos. When protesters are murdered, the vile reactionary Casaday can only mock and use the death to promote his political agenda, crushing the protest movement. His attack must be understood as a commendation of the effective work carried out by MRB.

On CNN, a flummoxed Casaday defended the tweet by saying that, “Maybe in hindsight it wasn’t the best thing to do, but I stand by what I did. … I just think that it was the best thing for the community to know at that time.”

Chris Cuomo, a commentator with monopoly media outlet CNN, hit the nail on the head when he responded that, “it looks like you just like the idea that the guy got shot because you don’t like that he was there…”

Casaday has since deleted the controversial Tweet and issued the following statement:

“After the tragic shooting of Garett Foster a few days ago, I made a Twitter post that was insensitive to Garret’s fiancé, his family and to Garrett as welI. I apologize for my offensive choice of words. I should have known better.”

The lukewarm apology to Foster’s family does not smooth over the issue, it is merely a political move to save face. In the apology Casaday did not recant his position that Foster was “looking for trouble,” a position in which no one has provided evidence for.

Foster was a servant of the people who died defending Black lives, and Casaday is a parasite of the most reactionary strand. The two could not be further apart.

Tribune of the People reached out to MRB for a comment, who expressed that the apology is a ruse and that Casaday’s statement is encouraging reactionary violence.

“Ken Casaday essentially says that Garrett Foster deserved to die and that our organization should follow him into the grave – because apparently we are the ones out of control.” MRB said, “Garrett came out into the streets and defended the protest, because he knows the ones out of control are the violent police.”

“[Casaday] wants the movement for Blacks lives to come to a halt by leveraging his authority to criminalize our organization and all the protesters who are willing to stand up and the serve the people like Garrett.” they continued, “Last month, Logan Bucknam, a gunman and son of a police officer, tried to drive his car into a protest. This is the type of people [Casaday] is encouraging. He has since apologized to the family for these horrendous statements for merely being ‘insensitive.’ We aren’t fooled. He sides with Garrett’s murderer and he knows it!”