Audit of racism allegations within APD expected to wrap up in the next few weeks

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The investigator looking into allegations of racism within the Austin Police Department’s top brass is expected to release a written report in the next few weeks.

Earlier this week, Austin City Manager Spencer Cronk told Mayor Steve Adler and city council members attorney Lisa Tatum had conducted “dozens of interviews” and had spoken with members of APD along with the city’s Human Resources Department.

Previously, the city said this third-party investigation was expected to conclude in February.

One anonymous complaint was filed with Austin’s Office of Police Oversight, alleging that Former Assistant Chief Justin Newsom used racist and derogatory language toward African Americans for years. Newsom retired the day after the complaint was listed as being filed.

Another complaint claims Chief Brian Manley supported Assistant Chief Troy Gay in forcing someone outside the department to attend Christian gay conversion therapy.

Local NAACP chapter President Nelson Linder has advocated instead for a Federal investigation he says would better protect those coming forward from retaliation.

A separate council-initiated investigation is expected to review APD’s hiring practices. City leaders have threatened to freeze a June APD cadet class pending that investigation’s outcome.

“I’m not in favor of cancelling the cadet class because I don’t think this is rocket science,” said Linder. “I think you can do an investigation in a very rapid time frame and do it the right way.”

APD currently has more than 120 vacancies. The department loses between five and seven officers a month because of retirement.

Whether those officers do graduate in June to supplement an understaffed APD will be up to city council.

“I expect thoe three cadet classes to take place this year, and I have every expectation that’s going to happen,” said Mayor Adler. “I think the preparation for those classes is already starting.”

New racial profiling report released

On Friday Chief Brian Manley released the department’s 2019 Racial Profiling Report, which details complaints made against officers for racism and discrimination.

Last year, there were eight formal and 40 informal complaints made against the department.

“That many to me, indicates a problem with trust and some other issues as well,” said Linder. “That number to me is too high.”

In 2018, there were four formal and nine informal complaints. It’s important to note that the Office of Police Oversight was unable to accept complaints for much of that year.

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