Austin Police Department

Stand with Survivors rally
Salvador Castro for KUT

Austin had the highest number of rapes reported in large Texas cities in 2017. The rate of reported rapes that year was also nearly 40% higher than U.S. cities of similar size

The Travis County District Attorney says law enforcement responded to more than 600 adult sexual assault allegations that year. Only one person was found guilty by a jury. 

And that case wasn't from Austin. 

Former Austin Police Sgt. Elizabeth Donegan
Julia Reihs / KUT

Part II in a four-part series on why sexual assault cases are so hard to prosecute in Austin.

Warning: This story contains descriptions of sexual assault.

Sexual assault is a crime that can happen to anyone, but women are twice as likely to be victimized in Texas. In a 2015 study, UT Austin’s Institute on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault found 1 in 5 men will experience some form of sexual violence in their lifetime. But for women, it's 2 in 5.

Marina Garrett, sexual assault survivor
Julia Reihs / KUT

Part I in a four-part series on why sexual assault cases are so hard to prosecute in Austin.

Warning: This story contains a graphic description of sexual assault.

When I first met with Marina Garrett, she was preparing to graduate from UT Austin. Like most seniors, she said she was nervous but excited. It was an especially significant moment for Garrett because, for a long time, she didn’t think it would happen.

Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore
Julia Reihs / KUT

Part III in a four-part series on why sexual assault cases are so hard to prosecute in Austin.

Warning: This story contains descriptions of sexual assault.

Only 5 out of 1,000 rapists will go to prison in the U.S., according to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network. The numbers aren’t much better when zoomed in locally.

A crowd during SXSW in 2019
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Part IV in a four-part series on why sexual assault cases are so hard to prosecute in Austin.

At an Austin City Council meeting in January, a large number of people had signed up to give public testimony on the last item on the agenda. Most were women; each wore a yellow bandana – a sign of solidarity for sexual assault survivors.

Marina Garrett was one of them.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. for KUT

Austin police arrested a man carrying an assault rifle, a pistol, a knife and a baton at Pease Park on Wednesday. 

The suspect was identified in an Austin Police Department affidavit as 23-year-old Dalton Broesche. He was arrested for unlawfully carrying a weapon, a Class A misdemeanor, and has an outstanding warrant for aggravated assault in Harris County.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The Austin Police Department is still working out the kinks in its body-camera program, according to a new city audit.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. for KUT

A new report from the Austin Police Department shows crime overall increased in 2018, with property crimes up 9%. Violent crimes dropped slightly, however.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said revisions to city laws banning camping, panhandling and sitting or lying down will "fundamentally change" how police interact with people experiencing homelessness.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

After a damning report that suggested Austin police officers used force in traffic stops at alarming rates, the department is defending its data-collection – sort of.

An analysis of the department's use of force last month by Scott Henson on his criminal justice blog Grits for Breakfast found the department used force that caused injury 921 times in 2018 — a rate of 77 times per 10,000 traffic stops, which dwarfed other, large metropolitan departments in Texas.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

At around 7 o’clock on the morning of March 2, 2018, 39-year-old Anthony Stephan House was killed when a package bomb left on the porch of his North Austin home exploded. The bomb turned out to be the first of five bombs that would go off over the next few weeks, killing 17-year-old Draylen Mason and injuring five others. The bomber later killed himself in a separate bomb explosion.

One year later, KUT is revisiting the investigation, and the impact and aftermath of the bombings.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The Austin City Council last month approved an independent review of how the police department handles sexual assault cases. Mayor Steve Adler, who voted in favor of the review, says he has confidence in Police Chief Brian Manley and the work of the department. But, Adler says, he wants to get at the core of what he calls the "greatest challenges" facing the department in completing sexual assault investigations.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The Austin Police Department agrees with most of the results of a state audit that found police wrongly classified a number of rape cases in 2017, according to a letter Police Chief Brian Manley sent the Texas Department of Public Safety on Monday.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The City of Austin will conduct an independent review of sexual assault investigations handled by the Austin Police Department. The Austin City Council voted unanimously Thursday to undertake the audit, which was spurred by community concerns over how the department classifies and investigates cases.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

A new group that aims to improve the response to sexual assaults in Austin and Travis County was announced yesterday. Its formation comes after public concern over how investigations have been handled. But that concern isn't new: There has been a group in place for nearly three decades tackling these issues, and the work hasn't been easy. 

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt and former state Sen. Wendy Davis announced the creation of a Sexual Assault Prevention and Healing Work Group today in response to concerns about how sexual assaults are handled in Travis County.

The group will focus on collecting data about sexual assaults to better advocate for survivors.

Gabriel C. Pérez

City Council Member Alison Alter posted a resolution today that would direct the city manager to find a third-party investigator to look at how sexual assault cases are handled in Austin.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The Austin Police Department has ordered a third-party audit of sexual assault investigations after state auditors found it misclassified certain rape cases.  

KUT

When Austin Police Chief Brian Manley announced last week that state auditors had found problems with how police classify rape cases, some people were not shocked by the news.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

State auditors have found that the Austin Police Department inaccurately classified more than two dozen rape cases from three months in 2017, according to Police Chief Brian Manley.

The results are preliminary. At a news conference Monday, Manley said a full report from the Texas Department of Public Safety would be released later this month.

Nathan Bernier / KUT

A commander with the Austin Police Department was indefinitely suspended Thursday – essentially fired – after an investigation into allegations that he assaulted a woman he met on Tinder.

The woman contacted police in August to report that Jason Dusterhoft had become increasingly violent during sex.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

A national investigation into how police departments solve rape cases discovered that some departments consider a case cleared even when there is no arrest and the suspect is still on the streets. The number of these "exceptionally cleared" cases in Austin, in particular, has raised concerns.  

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. for KUT

Officers with the Austin Police Department are getting a new labor contract.

After nearly a year of negotiations, City Council members unanimously approved a four-year and $44.6 million contract between the city and the local police union. Police reform activists celebrated the contract as a step toward more transparency – including the ability to file complaints online and anonymously.

Nathan Bernier / KUT

The City of Austin and the Austin police union have reached a tentative agreement for a new labor contract.

The agreement reached last night would give officers a pay raise and allow the city to expand its efforts on civilian-led police oversight. During negotiations Thursday, Austin Police Association attorney Ron DeLord expressed frustration with the process, calling it “theater.”

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. for KUT

A municipal court on Friday ruled in favor of Austin's ban against camping in public places.

In his decision, Municipal Judge Mitchell Solomon sided with the city in the case of Gary Bowens, an Austinite who has multiple citations for camping in public, a Class C misdemeanor that his attorneys and homelessness advocates say targets homeless people unfairly.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

It took two years and millions of dollars, but thousands of sexual assault evidence kits collected in Austin and stuck in backlog have finally been tested.

The Austin Police Department confirmed it completed the testing in late September.

Emree Weaver for KUT

It's a new fiscal year for the City of Austin, and one of the myriad items on City Council agendas over the next year will be an overhaul of ordinances relating to homelessness. That won't be easy, as federal courts could inform – and complicate – that effort.

File photo / Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Residents can expect to see new branding of Austin Police Department facilities and vehicles in what Police Chief Brian Manley calls an effort to make Austin the “country’s safest city.”

During a news conference Thursday, Manley released an updated report outlining the department’s goals to improve community policing. He said the police department's new tagline “One Austin. Safer Together” will help reflect the values of the police force and residents.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Cody Wilson, founder of the 3D-printed gun firm Defense Distributed, has been accused of sexual assault of a minor last month, a second-degree felony. In a press conference today, the Austin Police Department said the self-styled "radical libertarian" and gun-rights activist was last seen in Taipei, Taiwan and that he missed a flight back to the United States.

Martin do Nascimento for KUT

The City of Austin will host three community forums over the next week to consider changing how city police officers are supervised.

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