Olsen Firing Appeal Under Way

Civil Service Commission hearing testimony in case of APD officer terminated for fatal shooting of Kevin Brown

The Civil Service Commission began hearing testimony this week in the appeal of Austin Police Department Sgt. Michael Olsen, who was fired from the department last year for the fatal shooting of Kevin Brown in the courtyard of an apartment complex in East Austin. Olsen was working an overtime assignment June 3 outside the now-closed Chester's Nightclub near East 12th and Airport Boulevard when he was alerted by a private security guard that Brown might be carrying a firearm; after Brown fled through the parking lot, over a fence, and onto the property of the apartment complex next door, Olsen shot him twice through the back, killing him in the complex courtyard. A gun was found less than 30 feet away from Brown's body.

In his opening statement on Feb. 19, Olsen's attorney Tom Stribling told the three-member commission that Olsen had a duty to investigate the report of a patron carrying a weapon and that he did not violate any department policy in how he handled the situation. Indeed, he noted Brown also contributed to the dangerous situation by unlawfully carrying a weapon and then choosing to scuffle with and subsequently flee from Olsen. But City Attorney Mike Cronig argues Olsen's actions were sloppy and not in keeping with department training – deciding to go into the crowd outside Chester's without waiting for backup to arrive (additional officers were just seconds away, he noted) was risky at best.

Olsen was trailed by his partner, Officer Ivan Ramos, Cronig noted, but Olsen failed to advise Ramos about what Brown looked like, leaving Ramos ignorant and leaving both of them vulnerable to attack by an "anti-police" crowd of patrons that could have decided to "turn" on the officers. Testimony continues today.

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APD, Civil Service Commission, Michael Olsen, Kevin Brown, Chester's Nightclub, Tom Stribling, Mike Cronig, Ivan Ramos

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