AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin Police Chief Brian Manley has indefinitely suspended an Austin police officer for violating police rules and regulations.
Officer Jordan Wagstaff violated multiple APD policies and the Code of Conduct by establishing an external personal relationship with a victim of a crime while the case was being investigated. Further, the relationship raised concerns it could jeopardize the stalking case against a suspect, according to a memo from Chief Manley
Wagstaff responded to a stalking call at a gym in December 2018. After completing the report and identifying the suspect via social media profiles, the officer waived the victim over to his squad car, the memo says.
Wagstaff offered to take the victim to a shooting range, so “you can defend yourself,” he told APD Internal Affairs. The officer also told Internal Affairs they exchanged Facebook information and began messaging on social media.
Over the next few days, the officer and the victim met socially and developed a personal relationship while the stalking case was still active. They met at a shooting range four days after the report, according to the memo. The officer and the victim attended a wedding of another APD officer together in January 2019.
A fellow officer told Wagstaff that the relationship was against department policy. He told Internal Affairs he didn’t know it was a violation and thought it was just “discouraged.” After that conversation, Wagstaff continued the relationship, the memo says.
The memo states Wagstaff accessed records regarding the case an estimated 28 times, and didn’t have involvement in the case aside from taking the preliminary report.
While on-duty, he patrolled the area of the gym where the stalking case was reported multiple times, which was outside of his assigned area. A day after the stalking report, the officer met with the victim’s father and shared information about the report including a mugshot of the stalking suspect, which is a violation of APD policy according to the memo.
In text messages with the victim, the officer made derogatory statements about the suspect, including the hope that he would kill himself, according to the memo. In a text message exchange with the victim’s mother, Wagstaff texted: he’s lucky patrol officers with cameras were there when I found him, according to the report.
Manley Memo: “His actions also demonstrate his failure to display an impartial attitude by allowing his personal feelings for the victim to influence his actions.”
At a dismissal hearing Monday, June 17, Wagstaff admitted to violating rules and regulations of the Austin Police Department, including:
- Privacy and security of records
- Responsibility to know and comply
- Acts bringing discredit upon the department
- Prohibited associations
He can appeal the indefinite suspension decision within 10 days of receiving the memo.