APD officer fired for December shooting incident - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

APD officer fired for December shooting incident

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An Austin police officer was fired from the job after a disciplinary hearing Friday morning.

Police Chief Art Acevedo says he "indefinitely suspended" the seven-year veteran because he violated several policies during the pursuit of a suspect in December in which several shots were fired.

Chief Acevedo describes the actions of former Officer Christopher Allen reckless and negligent on December 5, 2011.

Allen was helping Travis County deputies and other APD officers pursue a car stolen by an alleged armed suspect in southwest Austin. Video released by APD shows officers approaching a stolen car driven by Todd Zurovetz. Allen fires four shots, injuring Zurovetz and then chases after the car, firing 10 more rounds.

"A couple of our officers had to take cover to ensure that they themselves, weren't shot," said Acevedo.

Since this incident, Allen has not been on patrol duty. The Special Investigations Unit and the Internal Affairs Division of APD investigated, along with the District Attorney's Office. A grand jury cleared officer Allen of any wrongdoing, but he's been "indefinitely suspended" from the force.

"I've been a police officer for 26 years plus and I've never seen a case where an officer's recollection was this poor," said Acevedo.

Police records show, during interviews, Allen "could not even remember running down the street and firing his weapon 10 additional times."

"It's almost like he had a blackout," said Acevedo.

The memorandum continues by stating "video and forensic evidence do not support either the threat to Officer Allen of being struck by the vehicle or that Officer Allen fired his weapon at the vehicle as it was backing down the driveway."

"Unfortunately, when you have a critical incident and it manifests itself into a situation where you can't even give some really clear facts, you can't even get those right. You really demonstrate to the department, from a negligent retention standpoint, that you really have no business being a member, especially of a major city police department," said Acevedo.

Acevedo says officers are held to a very high standard, and violating several polices, is inexcusable.

Chief Acevedo says he expects Allen to appeal the "indefinite suspension," but adds he "vigorously" stands by his decision.

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