The Austin Police Department is acknowledging that two of its officers have been caught on video making rape jokes. In the already-infamous video, which was obtained by an Austin-based attorney via the Texas Open Records Act, two officers make jokes about sexual assault calls.
One officer says, "Look at the girl over there," before blowing a whistle. The second officer counters saying, "Go ahead and call the cops. They can’t unrape you."
Austin TV station KXAN originally alerted APD to the video, which had been posted to YouTube, on Thursday. On Friday afternoon, APD released the following statement:
The Austin Police Department has validated the video/audio publicly released pursuant to the Texas Open Records Act. The officers in the video/audio have been identified as Austin Police officers. Upon learning of the video’s contents, the Department immediately launched an internal investigation. The investigation will include a comprehensive audit of the involved officers’ contacts with victims of sexual assault to ensure the actions taken during the contacts meet the expectations of the Department, the public and most importantly, the victims. Upon conclusion of the investigation, the Department will take appropriate corrective action.
This is just the latest in a series of public relations disasters the Austin Police department has faced during the past few years. During the past 18 months, APD has dealt with the fallout following the shooting death of Larry Jackson Jr., the very public arrest of an Austin jogger near the University of Texas campus and public outcry over safety in downtown Austin.
Last year, City Manager Marc Ott called upon the Department of Justice to launch a formal investigation into Austin Police Department's practices. The DOJ refused, noting that it conducted a similar investigation in 2007. Though that investigation found APD's practices to be constitutional, the DOJ did offer more than 100 recommendations for improvements.