Landlord Officer Fired for Bullying Tenant

Alex Sanchez was indefinitely suspended for forging documents, lying to investigators, and stealing former tenant's truck

On Oct. 30, Austin Police Officer Alex San­chez was indefinitely suspended (that is, in the argot of civil service, fired) for forging documents, lying to investigators, and stealing a truck from a former tenant who lived for nearly a year at one of Sanchez's Austin rental properties. According to a disciplinary memo penned by Austin Police Department Chief Art Acevedo, in April Sanchez sought to evict a tenant from his South-Central Austin duplex after she failed to pay the monthly rent by April 9. Sanchez filed eviction papers with Justice of the Peace Raùl Gonzá­lez – including in his packet a copy of the lease on which he'd forged his tenant's signature – and on May 2, after Sanchez's tenant failed to show for a hearing, the court entered a default judgment in Sanchez's favor: After the mandatory five-day waiting period, during which the tenant could appeal, the tenant would be forced to vacate. Instead of waiting the five days, however, Sanchez took possession of the duplex on May 4 and, to make matters worse, took a pickup truck parked there, owned by the tenant's sister, packed it full of the tenant's property, and had it towed away – without permission.

In response, the tenant called 911 and reported that Sanchez had stolen the truck, which, in turn, sparked an investigation by Sgt. Mark Spangler of APD's Integrity Crimes Unit. According to Acevedo's memo, Spangler questioned Sanchez repeatedly about whether he'd moved the truck, and each time Sanchez lied, claiming he'd done nothing. In all, Aceve­do wrote that Sanchez's actions – including perjury (for lying in documents submitted to the court), auto theft, violation of a court order (for breaking the five-day waiting period) – all demonstrated Sanchez's "lack of ethics." Sanchez's "conduct is the antithesis of the ethical standards I demand of my officers and warrants the ultimate punishment, indefinite suspension," he wrote. Sanchez may also be facing criminal charges connected to his conduct. In the meantime, however, he retains the right to appeal his termination to an independent arbitrator.

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APD, Art Acevedo, Alex Sanchez

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