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Gov. Abbott appoints indicted Austin police officer Justin Berry to state regulatory agency on law enforcement

Berry was appointed to the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement. He is one of the APD officers indicted for alleged excessive use of force in the 2020 protests.
Credit: berryfortexas.com

AUSTIN, Texas — Gov. Greg Abbott on Friday announced his appointment of indicted Austin police officer and defeated Texas House candidate Justin Berry to the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE).

Berry will now serve on the regulatory state agency that, according to its website, establishes and enforces standards to ensure Texas residents are served by highly trained, ethical law enforcement, corrections and telecommunications personnel. He was appointed for a term that will expire on Aug. 30, 2027. 

Berry, a senior police officer with APD, was among the 19 Austin Police Department officers indicted in February 2022 who were accused of excessive use of force by a Travis County grand jury. Those indictments and accusations were made in connection with protests following the murder of George Floyd and the shooting of Michael Ramos in Austin in 2020. 

Berry is now set to appear in court later this year on Oct. 31 on an aggravated assault by a public servant charge.

Following his indictment, Berry denied any wrongdoing and said that an APD internal investigation had "long since cleared" him and the other officers. He also accused Travis County District Attorney José Garza of trying to influence his campaign to represent Texas House District 19 at the time. 

Gov. Abbott endorsed Berry in March after the primary election went into a runoff when neither Berry nor former Austin Councilmember Ellen Troxclair secured a majority of the vote. Troxclair went on to defeat Berry in the Republican primary runoff in May. She will now face Democrat Pam Baggett in November. 

Berry received a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and a master’s degree in leadership and management from Sam Houston State University. He completed his basic peace officer training at the Austin Police Academy and has a Texas master peace officer license from TCOLE.

Gov. Abbott also appointed Martina Lemond Dixon of Kingwood to the TCOLE. Her term will expire on Aug. 30, 2023.

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