Austin Police Sergeant Temporarily Suspended For Racially Offensive Comment, Memo States

An Austin police sergeant was suspended for 60 days after an internal investigation found that he had made a racially insensitive comment to a fellow officer in May last year, according to a disciplinary memo released last week. 

The memo, signed by Austin Police Chief Brian Manley on Jan. 19, states that Austin police Sgt. Philip Linsalata used a derogatory term to refer to an officer with a Hispanic surname in May last year. 

Linsalata has accepted the terms of the temporary suspension and other punitive measures related to the incident, according to the memo. His suspension, which began Wednesday, will be in effect until March 20, authorities said. 

The officer who was the subject of the derogatory comment was also interviewed by the department’s internal affairs division and said he had not been offended by Linsalata’s comments. 

Linsalata told internal affairs investigators that he had made the derogatory comments in an effort to get to know the officer better, adding that he did not intend for his statements to be offensive or racist. 

“[Linsalata] admitted that, in hindsight, [his comment] was inappropriate, that he was trying to make a joke or be funny, and that he would not use the term again,” the memo stated. 

Linsalata’s actions violated multiple department policies, including those related to general conduct and harassment, the memo stated. 

Linsalata, who has been a sergeant and has supervised a patrol shift for about 14 years at the department, has agreed to take any extra training assigned to him, and will also serve a one-year probationary period in addition to his 60-day suspension.

During the one-year probation, Linsalata will be subject to indefinite suspension without the right to appeal if he commits a similar violation of department policy, according to the memo, which was also signed by Linsalata. 


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