The OPO received complaints alleging misconduct against Assistant Chief Justin Newsom, Chief Brian Manley, and other Assistant Chiefs in the Austin Police Department. Allegations of misconduct by an Assistant Chief or the Chief of Police are outside the scope of the OPO and have been forwarded to the City Manager.
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NOTICE OF FORMAL
Date of Complaint: 10/30/2019
Per an anonymous complaint received by the Office of Police Oversight (OPO) on October 30,
2019, Assistant Chief Justin Newsom may have violated Austin Policy Department (APD) policy
when he allegedly used racist language to describe African Americans. Assistant Chief Newsom
may have also violated APD policy when he was allegedly involved in an incident of family
violence with another city employee,
The OPO recommends an independent investigation into the allegations listed in this Notice of
Formal Complaint against Assistant Chief Newsom.
Additional Information: The anonymous complaint received by the OPO is quoted below:
“I have been advised allegedly that AC Newsom, on a continous [sic] basis for at least the
last decade, has used the word “nigger” to describe African Americans. I have been advised
that AC Newsom, went to Chief Manley explaining that someone may have possession of
text exchanges where he was using “nigger” in the conversation. Chief Manley asked if it
was possible that someone did in fact have screenshots of these conversations and AC
Newsome [sic] said yes. Allegedly everyone on the executive floor (to include officers,
Assistant Chiefs, Chief of Staff and administrative staff) knew about this conversation
between Chief Manley and AC Newsom. All Assistant Chiefs were made aware of AC
Newsom using the extremely derogatory term “nigger” and failed to report it for
investigation or review. •Specifically while advising President Obama landed in Austin AC
Newsom stated “Negro one down”. •When describing Council woman Ora Houston AC
Newsom stated “She is a dumb nigger but a nice lady” •When talking about Chief Dixon
AC Newsom stated “Frank is a nigger but he is our nigger” •When on a Special Response
Team deployment AC Newsom called Officer LaMarcus Wells and Officer Kheston
Campbell “Stupid fucking niggers”. This was in front of other SRT personnel and SRT
supervisors. It has also been alleged that AC Newsom was involved in a family violence
, a current city employee. On one occurance [sic] a Park
Ranger had to step in to deal with the altercation. I ask that all of these allegations be
Administrative Policies to Review:
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.
NOTICE OF FORMAL
(a) Employees will not express or otherwise manifest any prejudice concerning race, religion,
national origin, age, political affiliation, sex, or other personal characteristics in the
performance of their duties.
1. Employees will respect the rights of individuals and will not engage in
discrimination, oppression, or favoritism whether by language, act, or omission.
2. The use of racial or ethnic remarks, slurs, epithets, words or gestures, which are
derogatory or inflammatory in nature to or about any person or group of persons is
(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.
328.2 Racial or Bias-Based Profiling Policy
The Department strives to provide law enforcement services to our diverse community while
respecting the racial, cultural, or other differences of those we serve. It is the policy and practice
of the Department to provide law enforcement services and to enforce the law equally, fairly, and
without discrimination toward any individual or group.
Race, ethnicity or nationality, religion, sex, sexual orientation, economic status, age, cultural
group, disability, or affiliation with any other similar identifiable group shall not be used as the
basis for providing differing levels of law enforcement services or the enforcement of the law.
While the practice of racial or bias-based profiling is strictly prohibited, it is recognized that race
or cultural differences may be legitimately considered by an officer in combination with other
legitimate factors; to establish reasonable suspicion or probable cause (e.g., subject description is
limited to a specific race or group), to establish relevant elements of a crime (e.g. exploitation of
an elderly or disabled individual), or to gather evidence relevant to enhanced punishment due to
offenses committed because of bias or prejudice.
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
900.3.2 Acts Bringing Discredit Upon the Department
Since the conduct of personnel both on-duty or off-duty may reflect directly upon the Department,
employees must conduct themselves at all times in a manner which does not bring reproach,
discredit, or embarrassment to the Department or to the City.
(a) Employees will not commit any act which tends to destroy public confidence in, and
respect for, the Department or which is prejudicial to the good order, efficiency, or
discipline of the Department.
NOTICE OF FORMAL
900.3.4 Personal Conduct
(c) While on-duty or on the premises of City facilities, employees will not:
1. Use loud, indecent, profane, harsh, derogatory language, or use belittling term [sic]
in any communication.
2. Ridicule, mock, taunt, embarrass, humiliate, or shame any person, nor do anything
that might incite that person to violence.
900.5 Responsibility to Coworkers
Cooperation among employees of the Department is essential to effective law enforcement.
(a) Employees are expected to treat each other with respect.
1. Employees will be courteous and civil at all times in their relationships, perform
their duties in a cooperative and supportive manner, and not threaten, display
physical aggression toward, or use insolent or abusive language with one another.
2. Employees will address one another by proper use of rank or title when on-duty
and in the presence of the public.
900.5.1 Supporting Fellow Employees
(c) Employees will not publicly criticize the work or the manner of performance of duty of
any other employee.
(a) Discrimination is any act or omission of an act which would create a hostile work
environment, or exclude any person from employment or promotional opportunities
because of creed, color, national origin, sex, gender identity or gender expression, age,
religion, veteran status, disability, or sexual orientation.
(c) Discrimination includes, but is not limited to, derogatory comments, slurs or jokes,
pictures, cartoons or posters and actions that result in an employee being offended or
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.
(a) Employees will maintain a working knowledge and comply with the laws, ordinances,
statutes, regulations, and APD directives which pertain to their assigned duties.
(b) Employees who do not understand their assigned duties or responsibilities will read the
relevant directives and guidelines, and will consult their immediate supervisor for
clarification and explanation.
(c) A lack of knowledge of an APD written directive is not a defense to disciplinary action.
NOTICE OF FORMAL
The OPO is not recommending a classification as it is not applicable to Austin Police
Department executive staff.