Colored drawing by Anthony Jensen

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The Final Straw with Marc Ott & APD

An open letter to City Council:

Mayor, Councilmembers, Aides:

I really hope the rumors are true that Ott's about to be given walking papers in the form of a 'strongly encouraged' resignation...but in case not, here's yet MORE ammo on how Ott has completely let the APA dictate APD management.

First, understand that every time there is a sanctioned outside consultant or investigator brought in to advise on APD matters, Ott has done the opposite of those recommendations, which just so happens to be exactly what the APA wants. In this case, the investigator said there was "no policy violation," yet Ott reprimanded Acevedo anyway. On what basis? The only driver here is the APA.

Secondly, since when does Ott have a problem with the Chief working with community groups? That's always been touted as one of his major strongpoints!

Lastly, let's put this in context. Until David Joseph's death, every time the chief has opened his big mouth immediately following an APD-involved shooting, he's said it "appeared to be a good shooting;" or said he supported his officers actions; or planted a 'justification bug' (like "there was a struggle" without immediate evidence thereof); or flat out failed to conduct the most BASIC investigation and watch the rare available video BEFORE going on tv and claiming it to be a good shooting. "Coincidentally," this is exactly what the APA wanted, and "coincidentally," these are the irresponsible statements Ott's ignored.

Just a few of MANY examples of Acevedo's "jackboot in mouth disease" that Ott let fly:

--Nathaniel Sanders, II: Six hours following Nate's death, the Chief said at the press conference, with Marc Ott standing by his side, "it appears to be a good shooting." Ott's eyes opened wide in shock, but did he discipline him for it? No.  (A couple of years later, I was re-wagging my finger at the chief for this and he laughed...LAUGHED...and said, "but notice I said 'appears'!" I found this nauseating, not humorous).

--Daniel Contreras: I happened to be blocks away when the news broke and raced over. I begged the chief to watch the video before going on TV. The press was chomping at the bit for a statement, so instead, he raced towards the cameras and exclaimed Daniel shot twice at the officer. Six months later, the public got to see the video. Not only did Daniel not shoot his gun, he didn't aim it towards the officer and, in fact, had turned to run away when the officer shot him. Any discipline for that? Zilch.

--Byron Carter, Jr.: he said off the bat it was a good shooting even though Byron was an unarmed PASSENGER in the seat of a car. No matter the evidence that slowly spilled out defying this ludicrous claim - he still stuck to his story and said in federal court it was the "best shooting <he>'d seen in a long time"--when the officer was aiming for the driver! Discipline? Claro que no

--Keypoint-Gate: remember this little gem? After Ott caved to APA's demand not to release the full report (eventually leaked to media), Acevedo got his CHiPs friend to make margin notes that were highly unprofessional, which the media found & published, further embarrassing the already red-faced City. Discipline? Not even a stern look.

--Eschelon building attack: Acevedo hopped a heli and beat Ott to the scene, going on camera to say it wasn't terrorism, but the act of a lone nut...which ended up being the case, but that's beside the point. Getting it wrong could have put our city in further jeopardy. Ott was livid because he thought they should at least get some facts and consult with each other before making that call, but did he discipline him for this? You guessed it.

--Blaming the public for a suspect’s suicide was a reprehensible attempt to shift the conversation away from APD’s ineptitude surrounding the death of Esme Barrera, who may have been saved if APD responded to the report of the first attack that night. *insert cricket sounds emanating from Ott's office*

--’At least our cops don’t rape you’ -essentially- to justify non-justifiable jaywalking arrests (a ticketable offense at most by any logic). This went viral: giving "Keep Austin Weird" a new, twisted definition. Not long afterwards, two APD officers were caught on audio making a “rape joke” (as APD and the media termed it), saying “we can’t unrape you” - furthering our nationwide embarrassment. Slap on the hand? Nuh-uh.

--Going to an execution in his chief uniform as if the City of Austin endorses the death penalty. This may seem like a small thing, but it did raise a few council eyebrows and it may have been an actual policy violation (unlike what he just decided to discipline him for). Written reprimand? *sigh*

--Promises, promises: "I will decrease racial profiling!" Happen? Nope. Ott hold him to it? Nope.

Ott has NEVER disciplined him before, but now---this??? 

In consistency, balance and safety,
Debbie Russell