FIRST ON FOX: A George Soros-backed district attorney in Austin, Texas, who has drawn intense criticism over his prosecution of police officers and his progressive sentencing reform agenda, sparked outrage from law enforcement after showing up at the funeral of a fallen Austin police officer and eventually leaving early, sources told Fox News Digital.
Travis County District Attorney Jose Garza arrived at the funeral for Austin Police Officer and SWAT Team member Jorge Pastore, who was shot and killed Nov. 11 while responding to a call about a barricaded gunman holding three hostages, and multiple law enforcement sources say Garza left the funeral early after his presence sparked outrage.
“When he came walking in, I thought what gall this man has to show up at a funeral for an officer killed in the line of duty when all he’s done since he’s been in office is go after cops,” funeral attendee Dennis Farris, president of the Austin Police Retired Officers Association, told Fox News Digital.
Garza campaigned for district attorney by promising to prosecute police officers, and he fulfilled that promise by indicting 19 officers involved in quelling a Black Lives Matter riot that the department previously exonerated, which his critics say was politically motivated. Garza also went through on a promise to indict Austin Police Officer Christopher Taylor for murder in a move that critics called “more evidence of anti-police bias.”
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Garza has also faced criticism for his progressive policies and lenient sentences that victims of crime and their families have said make the city less safe.
One law enforcement source told Fox News Digital that Garza came to the funeral and was asked to leave a room set aside for first responders because he was “making people uncomfortable,” and then he went to an area set aside for the mayor and city council, where he was also “not supposed to be.”
Another source said that after being told he was not welcome where he was, Garza was told he could watch the funeral in a room on television, at which point he chose to leave.
It is unclear if Garza was specifically asked to leave the venue at any time, but sources say he was “asked to leave areas he never belonged in the first place” and eventually left early.
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“It was a slap in the face to every officer there seeing Garza at the funeral,” an Austin police officer at the funeral who wished to remain anonymous told Fox News Digital. “Everyone I spoke to expressed anger, confusion or both given his relationship, or lack thereof, with the law enforcement community.”
“What’s worse, it seemed as though Garza was genuinely confused as to why he was being asked to leave areas he didn’t belong, as though he didn’t understand all the problems he’s caused by unjustly indicting so many of our brothers and sisters. He should have just stayed home.”
Fox News Digital reached out to Garza’s office for comment but did not receive a response.
Garza was backed by progressive billionaire George Soros’ financial network during his campaign for office in 2020.
Soros contributed $652,000 to the Texas Justice & Public Safety PAC in the months leading up to the 2020 Travis County DA election, according to campaign finance records. That same PAC spent almost $1 million on digital and mail advertisements to help Garza’s campaign.
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“From my perspective, he wasn’t welcome and the fact that either he was asked to leave or he chose to leave on his own,” Farris said. “Whatever the case may be, I’m glad he left because he shouldn’t have shown up in the first place.”
Garza’s brief appearance at the funeral also sparked a flurry of reactions on social media from accounts that called out the district attorney for his previous actions.
“The most anti-Police DA in Austin history was asked to leave a police funeral,” Travis County GOP Chairman Matt Mackowiak posted on X, formerly Twitter. “Actions have consequences.”
“DA Garza knew exactly what he was doing showing up at this funeral,” Austin-area attorney Adam Loewy posted on X. “He knew his presence would create controversy as a family mourned – but did it anyway. Troubling.”
APD Officer Jorge “George” Pastore was laid to rest on Friday after a long motorcade made its way through a 16-mile circuit that ended at the Circuit of the Americas amphitheater where a large gathering of police officers from across the state was waiting to pay their final respects, Fox 7 Austin reported.
“His dedication to our department, our community and his teammates was second to none. None. Pastore was always all in,” Austin Police Interim Chief Robin Henderson said at the funeral. “Pastore exemplified leadership, teamwork, inclusion, selflessness, passion and resiliency.”
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