By Jaden Edison, Managing Editor
The University Staf
(This article is published with the permission of The University Star)
Howell is the brother of The Battalion’s Opinion Editor Joshua Howell, whose family confirmed Justin’s identity to the organization. Following The Battalion’s report, Texas State’s Registrar confirmed Justin Howell, 20, is currently a political science major at Texas State.
Austin Police Chief Brian Manley, who did not directly identify Justin Howell, said the “victim of this incident” was standing in front of APD Headquarters video recording the protest from his phone, standing next to another person. Manley said the person standing next to [Justin Howell] threw a water bottle at officers standing in front of the building.
Manley said the person then threw his backpack at the officers. He said one of the officers then fired her or his “less-lethal” ammunition toward the two, hitting [Justin Howell].
Video from the incident shows a crowd of protesters carrying a man in front of the police headquarters; the family confirmed the individual in the footage to be Justin Howell. Manley said officers gave protesters direction to bring [Justin Howell] to them to receive medical help.
“[Justin Howell was] loaded on an ambulance and transported to a local hospital,” Manley said. “We immediately began a level one investigation into this incident last night, sending investigators to the hospital.”
In a column with The Battalion, Joshua Howell said the following: “It’s unclear whether the officers who shot at the protesters were the same ones who gave them the order to approach. But at minimum, it takes a special kind of incompetence to fire at those who are doing as the police tell them. At minimum, it shows a complete inability to be aware of your surroundings and to manage the situation appropriately.”
Joshua Howell said Justin has a fractured skull and brain damage as a result of the incident. He said doctors anticipate when Justin wakes up, he will have “difficulty telling his left from his right.”
The investigation is ongoing. Justin Howell’s family says he remains in critical condition.