February 12, 2021

Formal Complaint: De-escalation of Potential Force Encounters, Assessment and De-Escalation, and other policy violations

Complainant alleges an aggravated assault with a deadly weapon by an Austin police officer. The Office of Police Oversight recommends that this allegation receive an A classification.

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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 ICMS #: 2021-0009 February 12, 2021 Complaint: The Office of Police Oversight received an online complaint alleging the following: “Aggravated assault with a deadly weapon by APD officer on ” This notice of formal complaint is a request for Internal Affairs to initiate an investigation in order to determine if the employee conduct is within compliance of APD policy, Civil Service Rules, and Municipal Civil Service Rules. Recommended Administrative Policies to Review (to include but not limited to): 200.2 DE-ESCALATION OF POTENTIAL FORCE ENCOUNTERS When safe and reasonable under the totality of circumstances, officers shall use de-escalation techniques to reduce the likelihood for force and increase the likelihood of voluntary compliance. 200.2.1 ASSESSMENT AND DE-ESCALATION As officers arrive on the scene, observe conditions, and interact with the persons there, they should continue to gather additional relevant information and facts. These assessments, along with reasonable inferences help to develop an understanding of the totality of the circumstances of the incident. (a) Assessing Risks and Benefits – After an officer has gathered sufficient information to ascertain anticipated threats at the scene, they shall consider whether de-escalation is appropriate. Factors that should be considered are: 1. whether the officer believes the search, arrest or transportation must be undertaken immediately; 2. what risks and benefits may be associated with delaying immediate action 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. (a) Assessment shall be ongoing – As the circumstances of a situation change, the force necessary to affect a detention, arrest, search, or transportation of a subject or to protect officer or other persons from imminent harm may also change. Officers will therefore need to re-evaluate their determination of the appropriate response to resistance as circumstances change. (b) Officer Discretion - Understanding that no order can realistically predict every situation an officer might encounter, it is recognized that each officer must be entrusted with well-reasoned discretion in determining the objectively reasonable response to resistance in each incident. 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 200.3.2 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. 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. (b) Employees will be tactful in the performance of their duties, control their tempers, exercise patience and discretion, and shall not engage in argumentative discussions even in the face of extreme provocation. (c) Employees will make every effort to be courteous and respectful toward all persons. 110.4.4 INSUBORDINATION Employees will not be insubordinate. The willful disobedience of, or deliberate refusal to obey any lawful order of a supervisor is insubordination. Defying the authority of any supervisor by obvious disrespect, arrogant or disrespectful conduct, ridicule, or challenge to orders issued is considered insubordination whether done in or out of the supervisor's presence. Recommended Classification: The OPO is permitted to make a preliminary recommendation on the classification of administrative cases. The OPO recommends that this allegation receive an A classification.
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