APD officer fired for not cooperating with internal investigation

Austin Police Officer VonTrey Clark was fired by the department today.  And the department considers him AWOL...he's currently in Jakarta, Indonesia.
   
Chief Art Acevedo says the officer was on restricted duty due to the department's internal investigation into his involvement in the Samantha Dean murder and he never asked for permission to leave the country.

"He has been told under numerous means, numerous medians that he is not allowed to leave, that he is to come in and that he is considered to be AWOL," Acevedo said.

In February, Kyle Police Crisis Counselor Samantha Dean and her unborn baby were found dead behind a vacant shopping center in Bastrop County.

Documents show that Clark admitted to an on-again, off-again relationship with her over the years and he believed he was the father of the child.

Investigators learned Clark insisted Dean get an abortion and Dean told her co-workers if she turned up dead, Clark would be responsible.

"I would just say that based on what I've read in the affidavit, based on what I know...I don't really have much use for Mr. Clark right now," Acevedo said.

Acevedo says Clark failed to provide some of the documentation he's been asked to give and he was a no-show last weekend for an interview with internal affairs.

APD also believes Clark has a quote "sustained association with known felons" -- a violation of department policy.

The chief says Clark did ask for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act -- which he didn't get.

"He was not authorized or eligible based on the law department's and the HR department's review of his application last week," Acevedo said.

And he never mentioned his travel plans.

"No there was nothing on there that I want to leave the country to go to Jakarta, Indonesia," Acevedo said.

Clark's attorney, Bristol Meyers says the administrative charges are "a stretch" and calls Acevedo's comments "slanderous."  Saying in part  "The confusion over his FMLA leave stems from human resources providing Officer Clark with an incomplete form for his doctor to fill out.  That paperwork was amended and resubmitted as required to obtain FMLA leave, and Officer Clark is not AWOL.  If Officer Clark truly intended to slip out of the United States undetected, there are more clandestine methods than booking an international flight in his own name and using his own passport."

Acevedo says even though Indonesia has no extradition treaty with the U.S., there are ways to get him back.  But he's hoping he comes back on his own.

"I have a message to you.  If you have any dignity, if you have any semblance of humanity left in you Mr. Clark, get back on that plane and come back here to Austin.  If you're innocent, prove it.  Come over here and face the music," Acevedo said.

We did speak with Bastrop County D.A. Bryan Goertz.  He says "No one has been formally charged with the murder of Samantha Dean and her child." -- and that the administrative action against Clark is "separate and distinct" from the ongoing murder investigation.

Meyers tells Fox 7, because Clark's visit to Indonesia is related to his medical diagnosis...the specific reason for his trip has to remain private.

But he says the doctor's note submitted to human resources does have a specific ending date.
   
Here's Meyer's full statement:

"Today's firing was inevitable as soon as Chief Acevedo pulled Officer Clark off the street and subjected him to constant surveillance back in February. The Chief's slanderous remarks today confirm that. Over these last few months, his administration has alleged one trifling policy violation after another against Officer Clark, none of which merited a firing. These latest allegations are a stretch of both the facts and policy, and should be easy to overturn at arbitration, if we choose to proceed with it. Internal affairs already had the phone records they claim Officer Clark didn't produce. The bank records at issue in the suspension memo were not records that he had legal authority to obtain. This firing would be much harder to reverse if the Chief had the political luxury to wait for Officer Clark to be charged with a crime. But based on everything in the internal affairs investigation, and everything made public thus far, there still doesn't appear to be enough evidence to do so.


The confusion over his FMLA leave stems from Human Resources providing Officer Clark with an incomplete form for his doctor to fill out. That paperwork was amended and resubmitted as required to obtain FMLA leave, and Officer Clark is not AWOL. If Officer Clark truly intended to slip out of the United States undetected, there are more clandestine methods than booking an international flight in his own name and using his own passport."

-- Bristol Meyers

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