Racism complaint filed against 2nd Austin Police leader; investigation authorized

Austin
Jennifer Stevenson

Austin Police Department assistant chief Jennifer Stevenson

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A second Austin Police Department assistant chief has been accused of racism, and the Office of Police Oversight is asking that the city launch an independent investigation.

The complaint filed Nov. 26 against APD Assistant Chief Jennifer Stevenson accuses her of making racist comments toward a detective of Hispanic descent who was a member of the narcotics unit from 2011-2012.

The complaint alleges Stevenson, then a sergeant over the narcotics unit, was talking about how the department dropped the college education requirement from its recruiting standards under then-Chief Art Acevedo, who is also Hispanic.

“Maybe now more of your people can get a job since college in no longer a requirement,” Stephenson is accused of saying.

The complaint continued, saying Stephenson kept degrading the detective about his job performance, adding that “Sgt. Stevenson displayed racist behaviors to a Hispanic subordinate which were both offensive and degrading.”

The detective gave a deposition in front of APD representatives and Austin city attorneys referencing the comments and that he was offended by them, according to the complaint.

It says current APD Chief Brian Manley knew about the deposition but still chose to promote Stevenson to assistant chief:

“It is disgusting the Chiefs Office is allowed to deny and play ignorant to all of the recent allegations. Hopefully nothing will slip through the cracks anymore.”

In November, APD assistant chief Justin Newsom was the subject of an investigation regarding racist comments toward African-Americans. He retired the day after the complaint was filed.

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