Former APD commander fired for assault accusation appeals to get job back

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — Fired Austin Police Commander Jason Dusterhoft is appealing his termination, after accusations that he assaulted a woman during sex and associated with people who discredit the police department.

A Civil Services arbitration hearing began Tuesday morning. Both a city attorney and Dusterhoft’s attorneys gave opening statements. Dusterhoft’s attorney challenged the accusations made in a termination memo sent out by Austin Police Chief Brian Manley, and their relevance in whether or not his client should have been fired.

Dusterhoft’s attorneys want the former commander reinstated, with the pay and benefits he’s lost since he was fired in December reinstated.

The discussion focused around a couple of accusations in Manley’s termination memo. It details “rough sex” between Dusterhoft former commander and a woman he’d dated who accused him of strangulation, among other things, in the bedroom.

“We need to determine how far into the bedroom can Chief Manley go? Can he impose his moral superiority over the officer’s, for a lack of better terms, sexual deviance?” Dusterhoft’s attorney, Jason Nassour asked.

The city brought in one witness Tuesday– a former Internal Affairs Sergeant who investigated Dusterhoft’s case for APD.

The city’s attorney outlined why APD felt there was a case to fire Dusterhoft, speaking to the sergeant about Dusterhoft deleting pictures, videos, texts and the dating app where he met the woman, once he heard there was a search warrant for his phone.

Dusterhoft’s attorney’s accuse the department of “embarrassing” him and not doing a thorough investigation.

“This is nothing more than an attempt to get Commander Dusterhoft to retire,” Nassour said, “But, Commander Dusterhoft said, ‘Nope. I’ll see you on appeal.'”

This is not the first time Dusterhoft has been in trouble with the department. In the mid 1990’s, the city says he received “disciplinary action,” but appealed and won. Then, in 2017, Chief Manley demoted Dusterhoft from Assistant Chief to Commander for reasons that weren’t made public.

The city anticipates witness testimony in Dusterhoft’s arbitration hearing could take a few days.

Once all testimony is wrapped up, the hearing arbitrator will take time to decide whether or not Dusterhoft should be reinstated.

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