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Fired APD officer fighting to get job back

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Former Austin Police Detective Richard Munoz was fired for multiple reasons after serving several suspensions but is fighting to get his job back in an arbitration hearing.

Chief Art Acevedo fired him in May for several reasons.

Munoz's attorney wouldn't allow him to speak to us on camera. His disciplinary memo, however, says plenty.

He wouldn't call a burglary victim back after she called at least 10 times. Munoz admitted conducting an unprepared interrogation with the suspect in that case and didn't record it Investigators also discovered that Munoz mishandled other cases. In 2008, Munoz was disciplined for 60 days after a public intoxication incident.

In 2006, Munoz was fired the first time for using excessive force. An arbitrator ultimately reversed the firing to a three day suspension.

Despite his background, Austin Police Association President, Wayne Vincent, said Munoz is entitled to the same legal counsel as any other APA member.

"We don't pick or choose which cases we represent an officer on, if you were in the disciplinary process, just like a doctor and a lawyer, they have malpractice insurance, our police officers have that as well," Vincent said.

Even though officer firings make headlines, most officers who are disciplined don't choose to go through the appeals process.

In the past five years, Vincent said there have been more than 250 officers disciplined with only a small percentage of those appealing the decision.

He also said this process saves tax payer money in the end. The APA picks up half the cost of the hearing, the city picks up the other.

"I think it's a small amount of money compared to officers who are just fired because they had a complaint and you wasted hundreds of thousands of dollars in training and experiencing new police officers," Vincent said.

Munoz's hearing is expected to continue the rest of the week.

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