APD: Suspensions and Demotions

Former Lieutenant Allen Hicks and Sergeant Scott Stanfield were disciplined for failing to properly review multiple cases of their officers' use of force


A screengrab from the March incident that earned three officers suspensions, captured by the Peaceful Streets Project

Police Chief Art Acevedo issued suspensions to a lieutenant and a sergeant on Monday. Both were in the chain of command of patrol officer Cameron Caldwell, the Downtown cop suspended 45 days in August for his March 17 pepper-spraying of an arrested 25-year-old who had already been detained within the back of a prisoner transport van.

The sergeant, 21-year-veteran Scott Stan­field, received a 30-day suspension and a one-rank demotion to corporal/detective after an Internal Affairs investigation concluded that Stanfield "failed to complete a thorough review" of Caldwell's March 17 pepper-spraying, which was thrust into the public eye the next day when cop watchers from the Peaceful Streets Project posted video of the incident on YouTube. Internal Affairs opened its review of Stanfield's actions through the five months following Caldwell's spraying. Investigators found Stanfield to have "neglected and failed to perform his duties on several other" response to resistance (R2R) incidents, "including failing to properly notify his chain of command" (i.e., his lieutenant and commander) and neglecting to write supplemental reports, as per department policy. Stanfield's disciplinary memo indicates that the sergeant also skipped out on counseling an officer he was assigned to work with after the officer had violated a department policy. Acevedo charged him with "not only insufficiently supervis[ing] his subordinates, but ... also hinder[ing] his supervisors from uncovering these deficiencies."

In addition to the suspension and demotion, Stanfield has been barred from promoting for the next two years, must stand on probation for one year, and waives his right to appeal or otherwise contest the discipline.

The disciplined lieutenant, Allen Hicks, received a 45-day suspension and demotion of two ranks to corporal/detective after IA found that he'd overlooked an initial review of Caldwell's pepper spraying (only eventually doing so after he received a May directive from his commander to look into the incident) and in fact directed Stanfield not to complete a review of the incident when it was brought to their collective attention. IA's zoom-out on the five months following the March 17 arrest found "similar incidents" in which Hicks "neglected and failed to perform his duties on several R2Rs." Acevedo wrote in his disciplinary memo that Hicks often failed to document policy and training issues, neglected to supervise his subordinates and review the progress of certain administrative tasks, and failed to notify his commander of more than one R2R incident. The investigation concluded that Hicks often changed title codes of R2R incidents without "doing a thorough review of the information available to him," thereby hindering the ability of supervisors responsible for auditing response to resistance incidents and "prevent[ing] his supervisors from uncovering and resolving any deficiencies."

Hicks received similar disciplines to Stanfield, in addition to his suspension and demotion. The 19-year veteran remains on probation for one year, and cannot contest the discipline.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Austin Police Department
Timeline Set for APD Audit
Timeline Set for APD Audit
Review of sex assault cases to kick off this fall

Sarah Marloff, April 5, 2019

Council Calls for Audit of APD Rape Cases
Council Calls for Audit of APD Rape Cases
Start-to-finish review responds to growing concern from advocates, survivors

Sarah Marloff, Feb. 8, 2019

More by Chase Hoffberger
Revisiting the Railroad Killer
Revisiting the Railroad Killer
Local journo Alex Hannaford’s Dead Man Talking podcast investigates the case against a man on death row

Nov. 16, 2018

EMS Union Set for Leadership Contest
EMS Union Set for Leadership Contest
Association to cast ballot between incumbent Tony Marquardt or challenger Selena Xie

Nov. 16, 2018

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Austin Police Department, Allen Hicks, Scott Stanfield, Art Acevedo, Cameron Caldwell

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle