An Austin Police Department officer has been suspended for 10 days after he was accused of referring to a protester as “that gay dude” in May, according to a disciplinary memo from APD Chief Brian Manley.
CBS Austin reports:
According to a memorandum from the City of Austin obtained by CBS Austin, Officer Ryan Seweryn violated Civil Service Commission Rule 10 on May 30th when he was assigned to the Mobile Field Force at the police department’s headquarters due to many protesters outside of the building.
Standing on the front steps of the building, Seweryn’s body-worn camera recorded as he referred to a protester as “that gay dude with the short shorts in the black shirt.” The protester in question allegedly had a laser pointer that they were using to shine a beam of light on the Air One helicopter, which is potentially dangerous and could be a criminal act, according to the memo.
The memo says during the investigation, Officer Seweryn repeatedly said he wasn’t assuming the person’s sexual orientation by the way they dressed, but rather it was a “description of the clothing of the person, not a physical description of the person themselves.”
Officer Seweryn said he has never used the term “the straight dude” when describing a subject, the memo says. The investigator asked if the APD Training Academy teaches cadets to use the term “gay” as a descriptor, to which the officer replied, “not as a description, no sir.” He also said he wouldn’t feel comfortable using that kind of descriptor over the radio.
The memo states that Seweryn did not take responsibility for his conduct in this case involving the inappropriate comment, which is inconsistent with APD training and expectations. It also states that he did not accept that there was anything wrong with his assumptions, description and the stereotype as he “stumbled through his explanation, only to reiterate the same inappropriate basis” for his description of the protester.
Seweryn’s suspension is effective from November 26th through December 5th.