AUSTIN (KXAN) — An Austin police officer was indicted by a grand jury Tuesday, charged with one felony and two misdemeanors following assault accusations in March 2021, the Travis County District Attorney’s Office said in a release.
Officer Alejandro Gaitan was charged with aggravated assault by a public servant, a first-degree felony, and two counts of official oppression, Class A misdemeanors, according to the release.
Gaitan is accused of using excessive force while trying to arrest a person who had an outstanding warrant on March 12, 2021, the release states.
The Austin Police Department released a statement Tuesday, stating the incident was sent to APD’s Special Investigations Unit for review.
“This use of force incident, like all use of force incidents at APD, immediately underwent an internal review process to determine if it was within policy and law,” the statement reads. “As a result of these reviews, in March 2021, Chief [Joseph] Chacon made the decision to place Officer Gaitan on restricted duty. On Feb. 13, 2023, due to official felony and misdemeanor charges via ‘Information’ by the Travis County District Attorney’s Office, Chief Chacon took the further step to suspend Officer Gaitan without pay.”
The information, obtained by KXAN, accused Gaitan of hitting the person with a baton and using an “electroshock weapon.”
“I respect the Grand Jury process, and for that reason, I made the decision at that time to delay taking further administrative action until the case could be reviewed by a Travis County Grand Jury, consistent with prior practice,” APD Chief Joseph Chacon said in a statement.
APD said two other officers connected with the incident received 90-day suspensions after they failed to intervene, according to its statement.
The incident was referred to the Travis County DA’s Office by APD’s Special Investigations Unit in June 2021, the release said.
The case will be prosecuted by the office’s Civil Rights Unit, the release stated.