Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo reprimanded for response to David Joseph shooting

Mikaela Cannizzo

Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo was reprimanded Tuesday by the Austin Police Association and City Manager Marc Ott for continuing to discuss the officer-involved shooting that occurred Feb. 8. 

As part of the discipline, Acevedo will not receive payment for five days and has been warned his job is in jeopardy.

The shooting, in which unarmed 17-year-old David Joseph was shot and killed by former APD officer Geoffrey Freeman on Feb. 8, resulted in backlash from the community. Acevedo responded right after the incident by holding a news conference with representatives from Austin activist groups such as Black Lives Matter.

According to documents received by the Austin American-Statesman, Acevedo continued to discuss the controversial shooting at the department’s police training academy.

In a statement, Acevedo said he does not believe he should be punished this way for his his public remarks or response to the shooting.

“I acted in the best interests of the City of Austin, Austin Police Department and community after a tragic incident that cost a young life and ended a police officer’s career,” Acevedo said in the statement.

Ott said he met with Acevedo following his visit to the academy and reminded him to stop talking about the case so the administrative investigation could proceed, according to a report in the Austin American-Statesman.

In a memo written on April 15, Ott said Acevedo still went onto discuss the shooting with Austin Police Union president Ken Casaday on March 3 and held a meeting with cadets and training staff March 4 about the incident. 

Acevedo agreed his actions were insubordinate and that he disobeyed Ott’s requests to stop discussing the shooting, during a meeting between the two on April 12, according to the memo.

Ott said in the memo he has additional concerns about Acevedo’s performance unrelated to his response to the shooting and said Acevedo could potentially lose his job if future misconduct continues.