Top 10 Stories in the Sanders Shooting Fallout
A year in the life of a police shooting case
It's been more than a year and a half since Austin Police Officer Leonardo Quintana shot and killed Nathaniel Sanders II in the parking lot of an East Austin apartment complex – but if the events of 2010 are any indication, the story is far from over.
1) QUINTANA BUSTED AND CANNED Although he'd received just a 15-day suspension in connection with the Sanders shooting, Quintana got himself fired in 2010 after a one-car accident and subsequent drunken-driving arrest in January.
2) TCRP GOES AFTER KEYPOINT The Texas Civil Rights Project took to court its bid to have the entire KeyPoint Government Solutions report – a review of the city's internal affairs investigation – released. The city argued that although the report was completed by an outside firm, it was generated as an extension of the internal affairs investigation and thus must remain sealed from public view.
3) KEYPOINT LEAK With the TCRP lawsuit pending, an anonymous source provided the Chronicle with an unredacted copy of the KeyPoint report. We transcribed the previously redacted portions and posted them online; less than a week later, the city made the complete and unredacted report public.
4) SMITH TAKES RETIREMENT In May, in the wake of the city's disastrous handling of the KeyPoint report, city attorney David Smith tendered his resignation, accepting responsibility for the city's missteps.
5) DUNN IS DONE Former APD Internal Affairs Detective Chris Dunn appealed his termination for displaying bias in the investigation of the Sanders shooting. Although Dunn was not the only officer to make questionable comments during the investigation, he was the only one canned for it. In late June, the firing was upheld by an arbitrator.
6) CITY REMOVED FROM SUIT Also in June, the city won a bid to have itself removed as
a defendant in the Sanders family's civil rights lawsuit, but Quintana remains, now as the sole defendant.
7) COUNCIL REJECTS SETTLEMENT After a lengthy executive session, City Council narrowly rejected a $750,000 settlement of the federal civil rights suit filed by the Sanders family. Judge Sam Sparks – who, believing the deal was complete, had taken the looming trial date off his calendar – was a tad miffed by the move.
8) SANDERS FAMILY FILES SECOND SUIT In a new suit filed in September, the Sanders family argues that the city broke a legally binding contract when council rejected the negotiated settlement; the action is still pending.
9) SMITH FILES SUIT Sir Smith, the second passenger in the car the night Sanders was killed, filed a federal civil rights lawsuit claiming that he was unnecessarily wounded during the shooting incident. That case is pending.
10) QUINTANA FIRED, ROUND 2 In October, an outside arbitrator ruled that Quintana's termination for the January DWI was excessive and gave him his job back. Less than a week later, APD Chief Art Acevedo canned him again for an alleged incident of domestic violence involving his ex-fiancée.