Friday, November 16, 2018

Austin police chief needs better responses to whistleblower allegations of improperly cleared rape cases

After the Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX aired complaints in a podcast from an Austin PD whistleblower claiming she'd been pressured to declare rape cases "cleared," the City Council got an earful at the hearing on police oversight Thursday evening. (Go here to listen to the podcast; the APD segment begins at ~35:10 mark.) KUT has now followed up, with one of the reporters discussing in detail what evidence they do and don't have surrounding the alleged clearance-rate coverup.

Grits wrote about the case the other day, so Chief Manley came up to me after the vote on the union contract (more on that, soon), earnestly wanting to explain to me why the issue was no big deal. But just as he did with the podcast reporters, he stopped short of being able to defend his position with specifics. He would say he had supervisors audit this or he was told that, while the whistleblower was speaking of specific cases about which she had first-hand knowledge. And his stance that he never intended the City Council to think "cleared cases" meant "solved cases" really doesn't match his comments to city officials quoted in the podcast. That's how any reasonable person would have taken it.

There probably needs to be an independent investigation of this episode by someone outside the department. The law enforcement responses so far seem more bent on obfuscating whether potentially viable rape cases were improperly cleared than on clarifying the matter.

Until then, my advice to Chief Manley: Find out to the letter what the sergeant thinks was wrong with your definitions of exceptionally cleared cases, then be able to explain the differences to reporters and the City Council. Don't just say there was a difference of opinion, as you declared on the podcast, and said to me at least twice. That's not good enough.

As it stands, the difference of opinion is that she has accused your agency of pressuring her to improperly clear rape cases, and your predecessor resolved the "difference of opinion" by removing her from her position as head of the sex-crimes unit so someone else could pump up the numbers. Given that fact pattern, the difference of opinion isn't trivial. Your side damn well better be right.


KK said...

Methinks he professes too much

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Methinks he protests too much.

Methinks he thinks that SHE professes too much! ;)

Anonymous said...

I am so disappointed in Manley. The right thing to do AND the politically correct thing to do would be to express his shock, investigate thoroughly, and convene a task force with some teeth to create and implement policies around this. This is a cliff he can completely avoid going over.

Anonymous said...


Well, when you're given great responsibility with the ability to distort and twist information at will, the accountability disappears. You trust someone with a job, and they fail, but not without them disseminating misleading facts.

Changing the rules or scapegoating others appears to be the norm these days.

Maybe Manley will join his buddy Acevedo, leaving Austin to restore Respect and Accountability back to the public's trust.

Anonymous said...

This will make a good movie and that will do more to solve the problem than bureaucratic mincing and showboating.

Anonymous said...

How many of these are same sex rapes, if any? This is a trend that MSM treats gently. See "Gay Rape in Military Underreported by Pentagon", Washington Times, November 3, 2015.