Austin’s Top News – July 27, 2020

Austin's Top News from News Radio KLBJ

Garrett Foster shot and killed at Austin protest

Austin police have identified the protester who was shot and killed on Saturday as Garrett Foster. Chief Brian Manley says Foster was shot after raising a rifle at the driver of another car who then drew his weapon and fired fatal rounds, and then called 911 to report what happened. 

“Officers located and brought the caller to the homicide office to be interviewed. The handgun and vehicle were secured as evidence,” says Manley.

Foster’s weapon was described as an AK-47 type of rifle. That was also secured at the scene. Another person fired their gun at the driver who was leaving the scene. Both of those who fired their weapons have licenses to carry concealed. Police are still investigating the whole incident. 

Body cam footage of Mike Ramos death to be released

Austin Police are expected to release the body camera footage of the officer involved killing of Mike Ramos. Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Kevin Roberts says Austin society has been weathered and it’ll only get worse with this release. 

“What today’s video will cause, regardless of what the facts of the matter end up being, is an amplification of the social fraying that we have all witnessed this summer,” says Roberts.

Roberts fears the tape will reignite rallies that could turn violent in downtown, widening social divides. 

Democratic socialists rally in Austin

The group Democratic Socialist of America held a rally outside of Senator John Cornyn’s office demanding an extension of the $600 federal employment benefits, which have expired as of this past week. For those in Texas drawing unemployment, Jes Pavildes is a protester who tells CBS Austin workers are struggling, 

“What they work in is food, that’s what they know. They don’t have the ability to do other things, and even if they did, there are so many people looking for jobs right now that you know it’s slim pickings,” says Pavildes. 

However, as of just last week, there were more than 600,000 available jobs on the Texas Workforce Commission’s website. 

Ted Cruz fights back against new stimulus proposal

If Republicans unveil a new stimulus proposal today, as expected, it will not be getting the support of Texas Senator Ted Cruz. He told CBS Face the Nation the $600 federal benefit paid out to every person drawing unemployment, created a problem of its own.

“I’ve spoken to small business owners all over the state of Texas, who are trying to reopen, and they’re calling their waiters and waitresses, their other busboys and they won’t come back. And, of course they won’t come back because the federal government is paying, in some instances, twice as much money to stay home,” says Cruz.

Instead, he supports lowering the payroll tax to give some relief to working Americans and business owners alike. 

With another rent payment coming up, Austin has joined Travis County in extending the moratorium on evictions. The city’s order blocks landlords from issuing notices to vacate or remove their belongings from an apartment. Rent will still be due at some point, though. The city has approved millions of dollars in aid in recent weeks.

COVID-19 update

Travis County experienced a pretty good drop in coronavirus hospitalizations over the weekend, falling from 438 on Friday morning to 396 as of this morning. The number of recoveries shot up today to 16,658. Since March, 241 people have died, and the total number of cases is 19,480 in Travis County. 

The active case count in Williamson County has been heading in the right direction in recent days as well. 643 cases were active. That’s 189 fewer than this time Friday morning. The number of patients in the hospital, though still unchanged at 115. Since March, 5,304 cases have been discovered. 

Tesla could help other Austin businesses grow

Austin area manufacturers are really jockeying for a partnership with Tesla as it’s planting its flag in Southeast Austin. Tom Lonsdale, with Austin based Cyprus Industries, expects the impact of the 5,000 jobs Tesla’s promising to actually mean up to 40,000 more jobs for other businesses.

“Assuming it’s similar to what they’re doing in California, a lot of companies like myself with a contract with Tesla could easily double the size of our company, double our headcount here locally,” Lonsdale says. 

That’s not just line workers, but engineers, managers and more.

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