December 10, 2020

Formal Complaint: De-Escalation of Potential Force Encounters, Assessment and De-Escalation, Response to Resistance

Complainant alleges that Austin police officers used excessive force when arresting their companion during a traffic stop. The Office of Police Oversight recommends that this allegation receive an A classification.

PDF Content

Disclaimer: The following text was extracted from the PDF file to make this document more accessible. This machine-generated content may contain styling errors due to redactions. In some instances, text may not load if the original file is a scanned image or has not been made searchable. For the full version of the document, please view the PDF.

The City of Austin is committed to compliance with the American Disabilities Act. Reasonable modifications and equal access to communications will be provided upon request. NOTICE OF FORMAL COMPLAINT 200.3 RESPONSE TO RESISTANCE While the type and extent of force may vary, it is the policy of this department that officers use only that amount of objectively reasonable force which appears necessary under the circumstances to successfully accomplish the legitimate law enforcement purpose in accordance with this order. 200.3.1 DETERMINING THE OBJECTIVE REASONABLENESS OF FORCE Any interpretation of objective reasonableness about the amount of force that reasonably appears to be necessary in a particular situation must allow for the fact that police officers are often forced to make split-second decisions in circumstances that are tense, uncertain and rapidly evolving, and the amount of time available to evaluate and respond to changing circumstances may influence their decisions. The question is whether the officer's actions are "objectively reasonable" in light of the facts and circumstances confronting him. 200.3.2 USE OF FORCE TO AFFECT A DETENTION, AN ARREST OR TO CONDUCT A SEARCH An officer is justified in using reasonable force when the officer reasonably believes the use of such force is immediately necessary (Tex. Penal Code § 9.51(a)): (a) To make or assist in a detention or an arrest, or to conduct a search that the officer reasonably believes is lawful; (b) To prevent or assist in preventing escape after an arrest, provided the officer reasonably believes the arrest or search is lawful; or (c) To make an arrest or conduct a search under a warrant that the officer reasonably believes is valid. 200.3.3 NOTICE OF AUTHORITY AND IDENTITY If it is not already reasonably known by the subject to be searched or arrested, or it is not reasonably impracticable to do so, officers should make clear their intent to arrest or search and identify themselves as a peace officer before using force (Tex. Penal Code § 9.51(a)(2)). 206.4.3 TREATMENT FOR CHEMICAL AGENT EXPOSURE Subjects who have been affected by the use of chemical agents should be afforded means of cleansing the affected areas as soon as practicable. Those subjects who complain of further severe effects shall be afforded a medical examination by competent medical personnel. 208.3208.3 VERBAL WARNINGS A verbal announcement of the intended use of the TASER Device shall precede its application unless it would otherwise endanger the safety of officers or when it is not practicable due to the circumstances. The City of Austin is committed to compliance with the American Disabilities Act. Reasonable modifications and equal access to communications will be provided upon request. NOTICE OF FORMAL COMPLAINT 208.4.1 APPLICATION OF THE TASER DEVICE Authorized personnel may use the TASER Device when circumstances known to the officer at the time indicate that such application is objectively reasonable to control a subject in any of the following circumstances: (a) Apprehend a subject fleeing lawful arrest or detention. (b) A violent or physically resisting subject. (c) There is reasonable expectation that it will be unsafe for officers to approach within contact range of the subject. (d) A subject who by words or action has demonstrated an intention to be violent or to physically resist and who reasonably appears to present the potential to harm officers, himself, or others. 1. Officers should give a verbal warning of the intended use of the TASER Device followed by a reasonable opportunity for the subject to voluntarily comply, when practicable. 2. Officers must be able to articulate their use of the TASER Device in an incident report. 208.4.2 PROHIBITED USES The following are prohibited uses of the TASER Device: (d) Against passively resisting subjects. 208.4.4 TARGETING CONSIDERATIONS While manufacturers generally recommend that reasonable efforts should be made to target lower center mass and to avoid intentionally targeting the head, neck, chest and groin, it is recognized that the dynamics of each situation and officer safety may not permit the officer to limit the application of the TASER Device darts to a precise target area. As such, officers should take prompt and ongoing care to monitor the condition of the subject if one or more darts strikes the head, neck, chest or groin until he is released to the care of paramedics or other medical personnel. 208.5 MEDICAL TREATMENT Officers will remove TASER Device darts as trained once the subject is in custody. Used TASER Device darts shall be considered a sharp biohazard, similar to a used hypodermic needle. Universal precautions should be taken accordingly. 211.4.1 EMPLOYEE REPORTING GUIDELINES FOR ALL FORCE LEVEL INCIDENTS The following outlines the reporting guidelines for involved employees, employees that witness an incident and employees designated to assist at the scene of any response to resistance incident. (b) Supplements shall be completed by: 3. Employees assisting at the scene of a force incident. 211.5 DESIGNATION OF SUPERVISOR TO CONDUCT INQUIRY The supervisor of the employee involved in the force incident shall typically be the primary supervisor conducting the force inquiry. The City of Austin is committed to compliance with the American Disabilities Act. Reasonable modifications and equal access to communications will be provided upon request. NOTICE OF FORMAL COMPLAINT 301.2 IMPARTIAL ATTITUDE AND COURTESY Employees are expected to act professionally, treat all persons fairly and equally, and perform all duties impartially, objectively, and equitably without regard to personal feelings, animosities, friendships, financial status, sex, creed, color, race, religion, age, political beliefs, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression or social or ethnic background. Recommended Classification: The OPO is permitted to make a preliminary recommendation on the classification of administrative cases. The OPO recommends that this allegation receive a A classification.

Did you find what you were looking for on this page?