A 6-year veteran of the Austin Police Department has been fired after the chief determined the officer used excessive force during an encounter with a woman suspected of prostitution.
According to a disciplinary memorandum, Officer Robert Mathis and Officer Nathaniel Stallings — who was suspended earlier this month for his role in this case — were working together and patrolling an area in north Austin on Oct. 6, 2017 when they saw what appeared to be a john talking to a woman in what appeared to a prostitution deal.
When the officers pulled over the man, he said he was on his lunch break, but a background check showed he had been arrested for prostitution in 2014 and was driving with a suspended license.
Despite this information, the officers “warned and released him without taking any enforcement action.”
When he left, the officers turned their attention to the woman. When they found her, they said, “Hello, come here.” When she didn’t comply, Mathis “walked up to and pointed to her, and stated, ‘You, come over here.'” When she asked why, the officers grabbed her.
As the officers tried to walk her to the patrol car, the officers said she tried to resist and in response, Mathis said, “You’re about to get your a— slammed.” As they got to the patrol car, Stallings “pushed her onto the hood of the patrol vehicle.”
As the woman struggled, Mathis delivered six knee strikes to her body, according to the memo. Austin-Travis County EMS medics were called when the officers realized the woman had a cut on her lip.
According to the memo, after the arrest, Mathis omitted ‘several pertinent” items from his report. “Although the woman was uncooperative and resisted the officers’ efforts,” Interim Police Chief Brian Manely said they failed to “initially follow policy directly resulted in the unnecessary need to use the force that they administered.”
The firing was signed by Manley on March 30. The officer still has an opportunity to appeal the decision.
Editor’s Note: This story has been corrected to note that Officer Stallings was suspended, not fired earlier this month.