AUSTIN (KXAN) — An Austin police officer has been fired after he gave secured information to his ex-girlfriend’s son, the suspect in a sexual assault investigation.
Officer Carlos Mayfield was indefinitely suspended — in effect, fired — on Friday, May 5 by Interim Chief of Police Brian Manley.
The case started when a woman reported being sexually assaulted to Austin police on Nov. 18, 2016 but declined to have a sexual assault forensic exam. Days later, on Nov. 21, she was sent a number of text messages from the suspect that led the victim to assume secure information she had given to police had been breached, according to an official memo from Chief Manley.
“If I raped you why didn’t you go to the hospital and get a rape kit done on you?” the suspect allegedly wrote to the victim. “The police report told me exactly what happened.”
The woman then contacted APD Victim Services, and the department began to investigate the breach or leak. They found that Officer Mayfield accessed the police report for the case on Nov. 18, the same day the sexual assault was reported.
Chief Manley said the officer had no apparent work-related reason to access the report. Investigators then learned that Officer Mayfield was a Facebook friend of the suspect’s mother.
Mayfield was reported to APD’s Internal Affairs Unit on Nov. 22 and the Special Investigations Unit launched their own criminal investigation into the officer’s actions.
In an initial interview, Mayfield admitted to accessing many records on his day off after being asked to do so by the suspect’s mother, his ex-girlfriend. He also admitted to revealing specific details of the police report to the mother and son.
According to the disciplinary memo, by leaking information from the report, the suspect and his mother were able to gain “insight into the strengths and weaknesses of the allegations [leveled] against [the suspect by the victim].” After learning the confidential information from Officer Mayfield, the suspect requested APD officers come to his mother’s house so he could give his own account of the allegations against him.
Investigators also learned that Mayfield searched for unrelated reports involving the victim in which she may have been untruthful and gave them to the suspect and his mother.
Mayfield also told officers he was aware the suspect’s mother was a convicted felon. He told investigators that he revealed the information to the two because he wanted the truth to come out. According to the memo, the officer’s superiors found his claims to be “insincere, unbelievable and not credible.” New complaints were filed against the officer, including making dishonest statements to investigators and associating with a known felon, which is prohibited by APD policy.
The memo states Mayfield even acknowledged that he compromised the viability of the sexual assault investigation and possible charges, and that the suspect had no other way of getting the information he shared.
“Disclosing this fact, which would otherwise never be disclosed to a suspect during the early stages of a police investigation, is unfathomable,” Chief Manley wrote.
Mayfield confirmed to his superiors that he was currently friends with the suspect’s mother and had been romantically involved in the past. He admitted to looking up secure reports for her dating back to 2014, including reporting involving her sons.
While a Travis County assistant district attorney declined to file charges for the compromised sexual assault case, charges were filed against the suspect for assault with injury.
In a damning summary by the chief of police, he states Mayfield not only violated APD policy, but also the public’s trust. The chief said the officer’s violations had the effect of victimizing the woman a second time and providing critical assistance to a suspect trying to avoid sexual assault charges. From an administrative standpoint, Chief Manley says the officer violated the law on misuse of official information, a third-degree felony.
“Even if Officer Mayfield’s actions were not criminal, they show he cannot be entrusted to continue as a police officer with the APD,” the chief concluded.
The officer, who has been with the department since December 2003, was notified that, as of Friday, he has 10 days to appeal the chief’s decision to fire him.