December 30, 2019

Formal complaint: De-escalation of potential force encounters and other potential policy violations

Complainant alleges police officers may have used excessive force with her grandson. The OPO 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 #: 2019-1273 December 30, 2019 Complaint: Ms. complainant, alleges APD officers may have used excessive force with her grandson: “My grandson suffered some cuts on his knees, back and arms from the officers, his face was red from how the officers were handling him.” 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. Nothing in this de-escalation policy requires an officer to place themselves in harm’s way to attempt to de-escalate a situation. 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. 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)). 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. 328.3 MEMBER RESPONSIBILITIES Every member of this Department shall perform his/her duties in a fair and objective manner and is responsible for promptly reporting any known instances of racial or bias-based profiling to a supervisor. 328.3.1 REASON FOR DETENTION Officers detaining a person shall be prepared to articulate sufficient reason for a lawful detention, independent of the individual’s membership in a protected class. To the extent that written documentation would otherwise be completed (e.g., arrest report, field observation (FO) card), the involved officer should include those facts giving rise to the authority for the detention, as applicable. Nothing in this order shall require any officer to document a contact that would not otherwise require reporting. 900.1.1 RESPONSIBILITY TO KNOW AND COMPLY The rules of conduct set forth in this order do not serve as an all-inclusive list of requirements, limitations, or prohibitions on employee conduct and activities; employees are required to know and comply with all Department policies, procedures, and written directives. 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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