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Fired APD Cop Gets Job Back

Update 10:58 am: KUT has confirmed that Austin Police Officer Leonardo Quintana will return to work.

An independent arbitrator decided Quintana should not have been fired for a DWI arrest.

A spokeswoman with the City of Austin says Quintana’s firing has been reduced to a 15 day suspension.

Update 12:30 pm: The Austin Police Department just issued this statement expressing dismay at Quintana's reinstatement.

Today the Austin Police Department was informed of the independent arbitrator’s decision regarding the Officer Leonardo Quintana case. APD is disappointed in the arbitrator’s ruling. Based on the facts and circumstances associated with Officer Quintana’s conduct, management continues to stand by what we believe was the correct decision.

Earlier: KXAN TV is reporting that fired Austin Police Department officer Leonardo Quintana has won mediation and will return to work. We are following up to get details. 

Quintana is the APD officer who shot and killed 18-year-old Nathaniel Sanders during an incident in May of 2009. A grand jury voted not to indict Quintana later that summer, but APD chief Art Acevedo suspended Quintana for 15 days. Questions swirled over bias in the APD investigation into the shooting.

What eventually got Quintana fired was a DWI arrest in January, 2010.

Meanwhile, the Statesman reported yesterday that a new lawsuit was filed against Quintana this week in connection with the shooting:

The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Austin against former police officer Leonardo Quintana on behalf of Sir Lawrence Smith. Smith was wounded in the May 11, 2009, shooting that killed his friend, Nathaniel Sanders II. The two men were shot by Quintana after the officer approached the car they were riding in because it matched the description of a vehicle involved in several armed robberies, according to police.

The Sanders family had already filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the city. Austin City Council rejected a $750,000 settlement deal in July. Read the arbitrator's entire decision here

Nathan Bernier is the transportation reporter at KUT. He covers the big projects that are reshaping how we get around Austin, like the I-35 overhaul, the airport's rapid growth and the multibillion-dollar transit expansion Project Connect. He also focuses on the daily changes that affect how we walk, bike and drive around the city. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on X @KUTnathan.