January 31, 2020

Formal complaint: Response to resistance–purpose and scope and other policy violations

The Office of Police Oversight received a written communication alleging that Austin Police Department officers may have violated department policy by using excessive force during an incident. The OPO declines to make a recommendation.

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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 #: 2020-0048 January 31, 2020 Complaint: The Office of Police Oversight (OPO) received a written communication alleging that Austin Police Department (APD) officers may have violated Department policy by using excessive force during an incident. The Office of Police Oversight (OPO) is the complainant. 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): 200.1 RESPONSE TO RESISTANCE PURPOSE AND SCOPE This order recognizes that the use of force in response to resistance by law enforcement requires constant evaluation and that response to resistance is a serious responsibility. The purpose of this order is to provide officers with guidelines on objectively reasonable response to resistance. While there is no way to specify the exact amount or type of objectively reasonable force to be applied in any situation, each officer is expected to use these guidelines to make such decisions in a professional, impartial, and objectively reasonable manner. 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. 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. 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 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 declines to make a classification recommendation regarding this allegation.
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