Police Notebook: Sgt. Nedith Torres (APD)

Officer:  Sgt. Nedith Torres.
Agency:  Austin Police Department.
Alleged Misconduct:  Sgt. Torres assaulted his wife then lied about it during the subsequent investigation.
Disciplinary Action:  Sgt. Torres was fired in August 2008. He appealed and the arbitrator reversed the firing, despitefinding that the allegations were true. APD filed a lawsuit last Friday to challenge the decision.
Other Information:  As a result of the incident, Sgt. Torres was originally arrested for Assault Family Violence, a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine not to exceed $4,000. He ultimately pled guilty to a reduced charge of Class C Assault, presumably as part of a plea bargain agreement.
Source:  This Statesman article.

Police Notebook: Former Sgt. Michael Olsen (APD)

Officer:  Former Sgt. Michael Olsen.
Agency:  Austin Police Department.
Alleged Misconduct:  Excessive use of force and demonstration of poor judgment and tactics, leading to the fatal shooting of a man in 2007.
Disciplinary Action:  Fired.
Other Information:  Currently under investigation by APD for improper use of force against a 13-year-old in a private security capacity. Olsen is the Austin branch manager for a private security company that coordinates and assists patrols at about 60 apartment complexes (including the East Austin apartment complex that is the site of the 2007 shooting), strip centers and other sites throughout the city.
Source:  This Statesman article.

10/22/10 Update.  A Travis County grand jury declined to indict Olsen in a criminal case brought against Olsen as a result of the allegations of improper use of force against the 13-year-old boy.

Police Notebook: Sgt. Craig Martin (APD)

Officer:  Sgt. Craig Martin
Agency:  Austin Police Department
Alleged Misconduct:   Arrested for illegal use or inhaling glue or paint in December 2009 by Kyle police and again in January 2010 by Cedar Park police.
Other Information:  Martin supervises  current assignment is  currently is assigned to supervise detectives in South-Central Austin. He has been placed on restricted duty. .
Disciplinary Action:  Martin was placed on restricted duty at some point prior to January 13, 2010 (presumably as a result of the first arrest) but was still in a supervisory position. Further disciplinary action is unknown.
Source:  This Statesman article.

Police Notebook: Leonardo Quintana (APD)

Officer:  Leonardo Quintana
Agency:  Austin Police Department
Alleged Misconduct:  Arrested in Williamson County on January 12, 2009, for Driving While Intoxicated.
Other Information:  Quintana fatally shot Nathanial Sanders II, an 18-year-old boy, at an East Austin apartment complex in 2008. A federal civil rights lawsuit, brought against Quintana by the decendent’s family, is currently pending. Quintana was suspended for 15 days in relation to the incident for not activating his patrol-car camera but was found to have complied with the department’s use-of-force policy.
Disciplinary Action:  Fired.
Sources:  This Daily Texan article, this Statesman article, and this KXAN article.

5/4/10 11:09 a.m. Update. Officer Quintana’s disciplinary hearing was conducted yesterday. No word yet on the outcome. See this Statesman article for more information.

5/28/2010 Update. Acevedo fired Quintana earlier this month. In other news, City of Austin attorneys withheld information from the plaintiffs in the wrongful death suit related to the shooting of Nathanial Sanders.

10/22/10 Update. An arbitrator reinstated Quintana , saying that his firing for a DWI arrest was inconsistent with the punishment of other officers forthe same offense.

Police Notebook: Lt. Wayne Demoss (APD)

Officer:  Lt. Wayne Demoss
Agency:  Austin Police Department
Alleged Misconduct:  Visited a brothel during a December 2007 vacation in Panama.
Disciplinary Action:  Police Chief Art Acevedo denied him a promotion to the rank of commander but that decision was reversed on appeal by independent arbitrator Norman Bennett.
Source:  This Statesman article.
Other Coverage:  Grits for Breakfast opines that this may be an example of how Acevedo’s efforts to make merit-based promotion decisions are hampered by the state civil service code, which apparently received a good deal of successful lobbying attention from  the state’s large police unions in the late 1980’s.
1/17/10 Update:  After Demoss won his appeal, there was no longer a position to put him back in because Acevedo allowed Cmdr. Patrick Ockletree to be promoted to fill the position while the appeal was pending. The city council appears poised to create a new police commander position just for Demoss to avoid demoting Ockletree through no fault on his part. For more, see this Statesman article.

Police Notebook: Roger Boudreau (APD)

Officer:  Roger Boudreau
Agency:  APD
Alleged Misconduct:  Lied about his actions in a 2007 shootout, causing a man he shot to be charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and spend 13 months in jail before being released on personal bond. The man also lost a leg as a result of the shooting. The charges were ultimately dismissed in 2008 after the state’s own experts examined an audio tape recording of the confrontation and agreed with the defendant’s version of events rather than the officer’s.
Disciplinary Action:  None known. Boudreau actually received APD’s Medal of Valor (the department’s highest honor) for displaying exceptional bravery in the incident.
Source:  This Statesman article.

Police Notebook: Gerardo Cantu (APD)

Officer:  Gerardo Cantu, APD#6111
Agency:  APD
Alleged Misconduct:  Lied in a sworn affidavit filed in a criminal trespass case in 2009 (aggravated perjury). The lies included significant facts that constituted the elements of the offense.
Disciplinary Action:  The County Attorney’s office dismissed the case but, to my knowledge, took no action against the officer.
Source: This was one of my cases. My blog entry about it includes links to the relevant documentation (PC affidavit, Google map street view, and dismissal). I also have photos of the scene that I didn’t post for reasons of time and bandwidth. Anybody with questions about this case is welcome to contact me directly (kpace@pacefirm.com).

Police Notebook

I’ve decided to try keeping a “notebook” here for documenting incidents of local police misconduct that I come across.  Each entry will be assigned to the “Police Notebook” category and contain the following information:

Alleged Misconduct: 
Disciplinary Action: 

For anybody interested in contributing, I’m looking for news reports, disciplinary reports, and cases that are otherwise documented, as opposed to just war stories. Historical cases are fine, especially if they deal with cops who are still on the force. Please submit the above information by email (kpace@pacefirm.com) or by comment to this post.