April 6, 2020

Formal complaint: Purpose and scope – Responsibility to the community

Complainant alleges that while they were looking for someone at a homeless camp, they were approached by an officer. The officer interrogated both them and a man living at the camp without any evidence of a crime. The OPO recommends that this allegation receives 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 #: 2020-0220 April 6, 2020 Complaint: Mr. , complainant, submitted the following online complaint to the Office of Police Oversight: “I was on a humanitarian mission to find a homeless person who has a serious medical condition and needs to be hospitalized. I was making enquiries at homeless camps near and wearing my Sunshine Homeless Naviation Center badge, when I was approached by Officer who spoke to me in an extremely belligerent tone, asking what was I doing there, and then, before I could answer him, asked why I had come out of a tent. I had never entered the camp. He then yelled at a man who was inside the tent to come out, and when he did started questioning him very belligerently, asking lots of questions for which the answer should have been "None of your business". After that man left, I explained to Officer , that his tone of voice sounded extremely aggressive, and was not warranted as he had seen no evidence of any crime. He replied that the homeless camp was a known area of high drug activity, and why would I have been there if I wasn't involved. He also said that he had been to my house on drug related calls, which is absolutely false. I do not allow drugs in my home, just last week we threw out a woman ( ) because she had drugs. The calls to my house have been mainly related to people trespassing who became belligerent when asked to leave. Officer spoke in a very rude manner to both me and to one of the residents. If he "knows" that there is drug dealing going on there (as there may be) he should get a warrant and search the place. If he has no evidence of drug activity he should not be acting this way towards people who he has not seen commit any crime.” 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): 301.1 PURPOSE AND SCOPE – RESPONSIBILITY TO THE COMMUNITY All persons deserve protection by fair and impartial law enforcement and should be able to expect similar police response to their behavior wherever it occurs. Employees will serve the public through direction, counseling, assistance, and protection of life and property. Employees will be held accountable for the manner in which they exercise the authority of their office or position. Employees will respect the rights of individuals and perform their services with honesty, sincerity, courage, and sound judgment. 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, 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 friendships, financial status, sex, creed, color, race, religion, age, political beliefs, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression or social or ethnic background. 318.4 CONSENSUAL ENCOUNTERS Officers are encouraged to initiate interviews with people of the community in order to gain a thorough knowledge and become an integral part of the community. (b) An interview should be conversational and not confrontational. 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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