Massachusetts Cop Forum banner

Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 10 of 10 Posts

·
Subscribing Member
Joined
·
1,442 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Five Officers, Four Dispatchers Suspended in Austin, Texas


The Associated Press

AUSTIN, TX (AP) -- Five police officers and four dispatchers were suspended and a sixth officer received a written reprimand for what Police Chief Stan Knee called "inappropriate'' computer messages sent after an Austin nightclub caught fire.

Authorities said Austin police officer John Lengefeld heard a radio transmission shortly after 7 p.m. Feb. 18 that the Midtown Live nightclub was on fire.

Documents released Friday indicate the seven-year department veteran said he immediately thought of the song "Disco Inferno" and sent a message from his patrol car to fellow officer Josue Martinez that said "burn baby burn."

Martinez replied 37 seconds later: "Hey ... LOL (laughing out loud). Those were my exact thoughts."

So began more than two hours of messages that led to 15-day unpaid suspensions for Lengefeld and officer William White, who sent a note that said, "U can smell from (Interstate) 35. It is the smell of victory."

At one point during the flurry of messages, dispatcher Susan Negron wrote, "I have some extra gasoline if they need it," according to the documents. She was suspended for 15 days. White also messaged another officer: "My nite is made. I just had a lady ask me if it was burning. I said yep. She was upset. I was enthralled."

And dispatcher Ashlye Bauerle wrote, "You hear that Midtown is on fire!! The roof of a club . . . That's funny! Gives a whole new meaning to the roof, the roof is on fire," the documents said. Her suspension was three days.

All of the dispatchers and officers said in written statements that they regretted their actions and that their messages were intended as jokes.

Knee confirmed that another dispatcher also was disciplined for activity relating to the fire and that a sergeant and an additional dispatcher remain under investigation.

Witnesses at Midtown Live saw the "burn baby burn" message on the computer screen inside an officer's patrol car during the fire. Knee said a commander and corporal who responded to the scene worked to calm angry witnesses who saw the message. Had the incident happened in another city, he said, it could have sparked rioting.

The messages also indicated that the officers were tired of responding to calls at the establishment. Statistics show that police responded to 129 calls last year for reports that included a stabbing, gunshots and public intoxication. The calls made Midtown the fifth busiest club for police response citywide, according to police statistics.

The club, with mostly a black clientele, draws patrons from across the city. On a given weekend night, its crowd can include anything from a 20-something interested in hip-hop to a politician seeking votes.



Talk about chicken shit! ! !
Free speech for everyone but the cops. I can't believe that they hung these guys like that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
244 Posts
Being suspended for up to 15 days is a bit excessive, but these guys should have realised that their messages could be seen by the public. I can understand the cops and dispatchers making those comments, but they shouldn't have sent them to every mdt in Austin. Remember wayyy back at the Rodney King trial, when they released the transcripts from the mdt messages of the officers involved in the beating ?
CYA people !!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
447 Posts
People remeber that even if you think you deleted your conversations on programs like Packcluster it has been archived.

Want to text and be stupid do it via your cell phones. lol
 

·
Subscribing Member
Joined
·
1,442 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Good point, I have always kept my off color remarks off the MDT. That is why I have a nextel ! !
 

·
Subscribing Member
Joined
·
583 Posts
You have to remember that we are always going to be under microscope, and no matter where you are, SOMEBODY is always going to be watching. Our mouths always seem to get us in trouble more than anything else.

Also remember that people are going to assume that the words or thoughts of a few officers are representative of law enforcement as a whole.

I guess my point is that we need to be more careful about remaining professional at all times.
 

·
Senior Member
Joined
·
1,334 Posts
MCOA41";p="58705 said:
People remember that even if you think you deleted your conversations on programs like Packcluster it has been archived.

Want to text and be stupid do it via your cell phones. lol
Very well said MCOA. A nice reminder that MDT conversations can be subpoenaed if necessary. It would suck pretty bad getting blindsided on the stand by a resourceful defense attorney about a questionable MDT conversation :spank: I can't say it on the air, I don't on the MDT. Its is just as easy to access. Too many people out to screw you, both within and outside the departments.
 

·
Subscribing Member
Joined
·
1,316 Posts
yeah, that seems excessive. why would u leave this on ur mdt screen. how is this complaintant able to read the conversation. If i remeber correctly the messages sent over the packet cluster was normal size text, not ginormous size. i guess we can all learn something.
 

·
Subscribing Member
Joined
·
583 Posts
On the news, they showed a camera shot through the window of one of the cruisers, and you could read it pretty easily.
 

·
Subscribing Member
Joined
·
1,316 Posts
yeah i am sure u could focus in on it with a camera, I thought it was a woman who was looking through the window and complained why is this night club burning to the ground and this woman is focusing on what is being sent across an MDT through the window of a cruiser. mental note: kill the monitor in your car or don't send funny messages, this whole thing stinks
 
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top