January 29, 2020

APD Chief Manley’s Comments Re: Continued Low-level Marijuana Arrests

Sent to all members of the Austin City Council on January 29, 2020.


Thank you for your recent vote in favor of a common-sense policy of enforcing existing biased marijuana-related laws. Your vote directing APD to prioritize other offenses will undoubtedly save money, livelihoods and, more important, lives. Moreover, given Congress’ readiness to allow financial organizations to profit from marijuana-related businesses throughout the country, the city’s policy seems far more in line with national policy than the state’s continued muddled rules.

Sadly, Chief Manley appears ready to ignore your directives and continue a policy of ruining lives with unnecessary arrests and tickets. While arrestees may never face a judge, arrests alone can ruin lives — no prosecutor necessary. Further, Chief Manley’s approaching the media rather than addressing any concerns with Council is of great concern as well.

Given current legal challenges, an Austinite with a part-time job who is arrested under Chief Manley’s personally decided policy certainly couldn’t take a sick day off from work while they sit in jail for processing. Victims of Chief Manley’s policy would also, I’m sure, need to pay a lawyer to clear their records. Thus, Chief Manley’s insubordination places Austinites at risk of facing costly and damaging (if largely administrative) consequences that can nonetheless result in imprisonment and ruined lives. Essentially, Council’s will has been ignored.

Given Chief Manley’s clear public insubordination, I lend my full support to Council actions demonstrating the city’s expectation that employees, including the policy chief, will fully implement the decisions of the public’s elected representative officials without delay or obstruction.

Thank you for your service.


William O. Pate II