Another bad apple at Austin Police Department fired for use of force

An Austin police officer accused of using excessive force against a man with mental retardation in July was fired on Thursday.

Also, three of Officer Gary Griffin’s supervisors were disciplined for the way they reviewed the July 1 incident. Austin police Cmdr. Michael Nyert and Lt. Deborah Sawyer were suspended for one day, while Cpl. Andy Haynes was suspended for three days.

Earlier this month, a Travis County grand jury declined to indict Griffin on charges relating to the incident, ending the criminal investigation into his actions.

But he remained under investigation by internal affairs detectives, who also were looking into why his supervisors concluded that the force was justified.

The officers went before a disciplinary review board on Wednesday, and their meeting concluded Thursday.

Tom Stribling, an attorney who represented the officers, said they will appeal the decision.

According to court documents, Griffin responded to a “person down” call at a bus stop on East Seventh Street, where he tried to wake Joseph Cruz, 24. The documents said Cruz punched Griffin and broke his glasses.

Griffin hit Cruz with a nightstick, and Cruz tried to get him in a headlock, the documents said. Griffin hit Cruz in the face and handcuffed him, the documents said.

Cruz was arrested and later indicted on charges of assault on a peace officer and resisting arrest.

However, prosecutors dismissed the charges against Cruz in August after reviewing the evidence and opened an investigation into Griffin’s actions, which led to the grand jury review.

Click here for the full story as reported by the Austin American Stateman

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