'Leak' on Recommendation to Fire Officer Prompts Complaint From Police Union
Austin Police Association President Mike Sheffield has filed formal complaints with city alleging someone from Police Monitor's office and/or the Citizen Review Panel leaked panel's disciplinary recommendations regarding shooting death of Daniel Rocha.
Eighteen-year-old Rocha was killed by a single round from Schroeder's gun, fired into his back shortly after 11pm on June 9, during a "traffic stop" made in connection with an undercover drug operation in Southeast Austin. According to the officers' official statements, Rocha fought with Schroeder and Doyle, a struggle that ended with all three on the ground. Schroeder says she shot Rocha because she thought he'd grabbed her Taser from a Velcro pocket on her police vest and was preparing to use it on Doyle.
Under the union's contract, which also creates and defines the city's police oversight office and its powers, the CRP's disciplinary recommendations aren't made public unless and until Knee determines that discipline is warranted. A decision in the Rocha case will not come until sometime after Nov. 18, when Knee is slated to conduct the officers' formal Disciplinary Review Board hearings. According to the grievance, the purpose of the leak was politically motivated. "Obviously the individual(s) who leaked the information did not believe the Panel's vote, alone, was sufficient to convince Knee, and therefore sought to have the information published in the newspaper in an attempt to bring political pressure to bear upon the Chief," reads the grievance.
The city has agreed to appoint an independent "fact finder" to investigate the leak and report back to Futrell.