Outrage after officer was disciplined for off-duty chase

Austin Police Department vehicles

AUSTIN (KXAN) — An Austin Police officer is facing a 10-day suspension after he chased and tackled a suspect while off duty.

Officer Jonathan LaBorde was in church when he saw a man dressed in dirty clothing and blood on his face running through the halls. LaBorde chased the man with his gun drawn, even as on-duty officers arrived and started chasing the suspect, a disciplinary memo said.

LaBorde eventually caught up to the suspect and take him to the to the ground while still holding the gun in his hand, the memo said. The gun also came into contact with the upper back and neck of the suspect as LaBorde attempted to hold him down, the memo adds.

The Austin Police Department says LaBorde should have backed off the second he saw on-duty officers responding.

“Officer LaBorde failed to disengage on two separate occasions when officers arrived on the scene,” said APD spokesperson Jason Dusterhoft.

The Austin Police Association criticized the city’s punishment by highlighting an altercation between a drunk person and Chief Art Acevedo, who was off duty at the time. The APA says a struggle broke out and the chief had to take the man to the ground. Acevedo was hailed as a “heroic icon of our city,” the APA said in a statement.

“Unfortunately, Officer LaBorde’s fate was not that of our chief’s. There was to be no praise from the public or the media. There was acknowledgement from the department however, but not the kind one would expect. Officer LaBorde was placed under investigation for his actions that day,” the statement reads.

“This police association from this day forward will no longer quietly accept incompetence and just bullheaded decisions from executive staff,” said APA President Wayne Vincent.

Officer LaBorde can appeal his suspension.

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