Colored drawing by Anthony Jensen

Monday, March 28, 2016


In 2009, per the recommendation of the Citizen’s Review Panel, Austin City Manager Marc Ott ordered an independent investigation of the shooting death of Nathaniel Sanders, II. At the press conference to announce it, Ott exclaimed, “...the public deserved to know – this was the public’s report.”

Conducted by KeyPoint Government Solutions, upon its finalized submission to the City, Ott decided that it was no longer the public’s report, and sought to conceal that it had been submitted, but word got around and he was feeling the pressure. So a couple of weeks later, they released it to the public, but HEAVILY redacted…as in the actual conclusions themselves - and all related evidence backing those conclusions. They were specifically hiding whether or not they found the shooting justified. (They didn’t - yet Quintana wasn’t fired until he was arrested for a DWI while off-duty a year after the shooting, so it absolves the chief of any complicity). 

The report opened a whole bag of worms on disorder within APD and Internal Affairs (IA).  We found out later that there was a second IA report that was hidden from the public because it found more policy violations than the first; which was so tainted as to cause Acevedo to fire one of the investigators, but he still relied on its findings and discarded, the second, supposedly "good" report!

Ott, in one-on-one conversations, feigned a desire to release it, but cited “political pressures” preventing him from doing so. Yet, the council said Ott wouldn’t release it to them, so they couldn’t know what was in it to know what to tell him to hide. And we are to believe that Acevedo’s boss didn’t read the report in full? Ott either lied about this or it shows he is not doing his job overseeing the chief. (As a school board member, I’d fire my superintendent if she didn’t review a personnel matter that is all over the media; if she said, “it’s HR’s place, not mine!”).

At the end of the day, Ott is the manager and makes the call. He hired the firm; he decides what to do with the firm’s results (and he should definitely READ those results!). But instead, he first tried to blame council, then when that didn’t fly, made his city attorney take the fall – forcing his resignation while blaming him for the wrongful interpretation: that ALL of us were telling him was wrong. He failed to go hire an independent atty for a second opinion, which he should have if he thought he could “prove” every attorney in town weighing in on this was wrong, but the city attorney was right. Apparently the buck stops below him.

Texas Civil Rights Project filed a lawsuit... and the public continued to demand the full report. This went on for seven months, generating a landslide of negative media for the city, and it might have gone on much longer if it weren’t for an anonymous source who leaked the unredacted version to media who promptly posted it.  It was NOT OTT who did the right thing. “Not our finest hour” indeed, as Michael King of the Austin Chronicle lamented.

He based the ‘cause’ for the cover-up on a misread interpretation of a TX-AG opinion. His ill-informed actions, fraught with his disingenuous, intelligence-insulting disregard for both the community and council, is case-in-point of how he operates…with a lack of ethos and backbone.  

The saga continued with the uncovering of a “review of the review”: the handwritten notes Acevedo had an old friend with CHiPs conjure up to fit his story. Ott should have actually covered this one up as it was not just embarrassing, but baseless and unprofessional.

Speaking of “ethos,” Ott also hid an internal ethics survey from council for three years. It was only exposed because media dug it up.

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