Eric Gay / AP
Austin interim police chief Brian Manley described the Austin series bomber on Thursday as a "domestic terrorist" on a panel discussion with KUT member station.
Despite earlier calls from the community after a series of bomb attacks that killed 39-year-old Stephan House and 17-year-old Draylen Mason, Manley had not used the term. At the panel discussion, he said he felt "very well" now and called Mark Conditt a terrorist.
"I actually agree that he was a secret terrorist for what he did to us." Manley said to the crowd in the George Washington Carver Museum East Austin had gathered to investigate the effects of bombing on colored communities.
At a press conference after the bomber's death, Manley called him a "challenged young man," "sparked widespread criticism." On Thursday, Manley said he did not call Conditt "domestic terrorist" because the term is a legal definition
"I knew it could end up in a legal system someday," Manley said
He said last week that he had had less time to focus on the daily medical checkup and more on the Concentration on Austin
"I had the opportunity to sit back and think about the implications it had on our community, and not focus on the investigation and try to stop it," he said "And when I look at what he did to our community, and as your chief of police, I actually agree that he was an internal terrorist for what he did to us. "
Chas Moore of the Austin Justice Coalition agreed with Manley, but he believes the bomber was treated differently because of his race.
"Was the young man worried? Absolutely. But he was a troubled young man who turned out to be an inside terrorist," Moore said. "Because he was white, we gave him the advantage of being a human first."
This perceived racial immunity was also present in the early stages of the study. Manley and the Austin Police Department were criticized for their initial treatment of the death of House, the first casualty. APD first thought his death was linked to a drug raid on the street from his house. His death was later classified as "suspicious" and the investigators suggested that House could have made the bomb himself and turned off. It was only after the second and third bombings that the authorities suspected the possibility of a political or hateful motive for the bombing.1659008 Panelist Gilbert Riveras, a longtime Austin activist from East Austin, said he always considered the bomber a domestic terrorist. He said that the national limelight, that the bombings inflicted on Austin's racial differences, does not begin and end with this case.
APD has a long history of unfair treatment of minorities, he said, citing its own experiences with beatings by Austin police officers in 1972 and the deadly police turnout of 17-year-old David Joseph in 2016.
The bombings, he said, "brought everything that is part of our DNA."
Manley said it is important for the citizens Police were spurred on by Moore and the Austin Justice Coalition to take action such as training to emphasize de-escalation and to recognize the implicit bias of officials.
Moore said the problem is more systemic than the police training and mindfulness. While Austin sees itself as a progressive bulwark, it is the only major city with a shrinking black population, and longtime East Side residents have honored their homes as money developers move in.
This fact often makes white Austinites uncomfortable, Moore said, but uncomfortable discussions about privileges and prejudice in Austin are integral to the fight against injustice.
"To really become an antiracist city, it takes a really deep soul research," he said, "and I do not know if we're already there."