AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - An Austin police officer who was reprimanded for the violent arrest of a black woman in 2015 has been fired for his conduct in a more recent arrest.
Bryan Richter’s dismissal Monday stemmed from a case in which he and other officers were serving a warrant nearly six months ago. Officer Steven McCurley was also fired in the case, the Austin American-Statesman reported .
The firings came after Interim Police Chief Brian Manley conducted an hourslong disciplinary hearing Friday. Police officials also alerted prosecutors in the civil division of the Travis County District Attorney’s office about the case.
Video footage shot from a police helicopter shows McCurley kicking a suspect, whom records showed was a Hispanic man, and Richter pressing his foot to the suspect’s head during the arrest. It’s unclear what triggered the use of force against the suspect.
Police union officials called the firings excessive and said that the officers will appeal.
Richter, who is white, has been under scrutiny since 2016 when a video was released showing Breaion King being dragged across a vacant parking space and thrown to the ground during her arrest following a traffic stop. He was given a reprimand, but department leaders didn’t learn about the incident until about a year later.
King’s attorney, Erica Grigg, said she is not surprised Richter’s tactics are under fire again.
“Ms. King believes, and I think a lot of us believe, that if you do badly at your job, then there should be repercussions,” Grigg said.
Since King’s case, the department changed how use-of-force cases are evaluated. An officer’s assigned supervisory chain must continue evaluating the lowest level of force encounters, such as the use of hand-to-hand combat and pepper spray. But a separate commander also must sign off on the encounter.
A documentary short film about the case , titled “Traffic Stop,” was nominated Tuesday for an Academy Award.
Information from: Austin American-Statesman, http://www.statesman.com
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