Tuesday, September 30, 2014

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APD officer fired after dangerous shooting incident

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TWC News: APD officer fired after dangerous shooting incident
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At a Friday press conference, Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo announced the firing of an officer for what the chief called a reckless disregard for departmental policy.

Chief Art Acevedo said Officer Christopher Allen failed to follow police protocol during a shooting last December.

In the incident, Travis County Sheriff's Deputies were searching for a man they believed stole a vehicle, crashed it and ran from the scene, eventually breaking into a home in South Austin, near the intersection of Slaughter and Brodie lanes.

Officer Allen responded to the scene.

“A male and a female came out of the residence, advised Officer Allen that the suspect had gained entry into their home," Chief Acevedo said.

Police say Allen then "mistakenly identified the location," giving dispatch an address a block south.

Soon after, the suspect pulled out of the garage and Allen opened fire. Chief Acevedo said the officer fired a total of 14 shots at the suspect as he drove away, putting neighbors and other officers in danger.

"A couple of our officers actually had to take cover to ensure they themselves weren't shot," Chief Acevedo said. "None of the other officers interviewed saw a reason for the discharge--a reasonable reason for the discharge."

Several bullets ricocheted off the fleeing vehicle, lodging in trees, nearby yards and other vehicles.

In addition, Acevedo says Allen's recollection of the events caused APD leaders to question his credibility.

"Officer Allen's version and account of what occurred was completely not aligned with what the evidence and the facts showed," the police chief said.

Acevedo expects Allen and the Austin Police Association to appeal the indefinite suspension.

"But we, as an organization, will vigorously stand by our decision. We believe it is the right decision for the right reasons," he said.

Chief Acevedo says Allen was with Austin Police Department for seven years. He says Allen had no prior use-of-force investigations on his record with APD.

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