AUSTIN, Texas - The Austin Police Department is continuing its investigation into the use of "Level 1" less lethal force during the first weekend of George Floyd protests in May, and by doing so have released the names of the officers involved in those incidents.
The officers involved include:
- Officer Nicholas Gebhart, 7.5 years with APD
- Officer Kyu An, 3.5 years with APD
- Officer Kyle Felton, 1 year with APD
- Officer Derrick Lehman, 10 years with APD
- Officer John Siegel, 3.5 years with APD
APD says all officers mentioned have been placed on paid administrative duty. The incidents originally occurred on May 30 and 31.
The APD Special Investigations Unit and the Internal Affairs Division are attempting to identify the officers involved in other protest-related incidents. The current cases remain under investigation.
APD's response to resistance is divided into four categories from Level 1 to level 4, as described in the general orders released by APD Chief Manley on June 1.
"Each level is defined below by the response to resistance used in the incident. These levels are established for inquiry, reporting, and review purposes only. If there is uncertainty about which level to designate a particular incident then the higher level shall be used," the order read.
Level 1 force incidents and in-custody deaths include:
- Any force resulting in death
- Any force that resulted in a substantial risk of death
- Any intentional firearm discharge at a person, vehicle, or structure regardless of injury
- Any intentional firearm discharge at an animal that results in injury to another person
- Any unintentional firearms discharge resulting in another person's injury or death
- Any force that resulted in serious bodily injury requiring admittance to the hospital, beyond emergency room treatment and release (e.g., serious disfigurement, disability, or protracted loss or impairment of the functioning of any body part or organ)
- Use of any impact weapon, including kinetic energy projectiles, and improvised weapons, that strikes the head of a subject
- In-Custody Deaths: For inquiry, reporting, and review purposes, all in-custody deaths occurring prior to or within 24 hours after booking shall be treated as Level 1 incidents and require concurrent inquiries conducted by SIU and IA, regardless of whether force was used on the subject
- The utilization of the Precision Immobilization Technique when serious bodily injury or death occurs
Several incidents have led to investigations and discussions over the use of force by APD. On two separate incidents, two people were critically injured because of the tactics used by police on that weekend.
16-year-old Brad Levi Ayala was shot in the head with a "less-lethal" bean-bag round by an Austin police officer on May 30th. His brother, Edwin Ayala, gave an emotional plea for answers at the Austin City Council's special meeting that was held later that week to discuss APD's response to the protests.
Justin Howell, a 20-year-old black male, was also struck in the head with a less-lethal impact emission in front of APD headquarters in downtown Austin. Officers also allegedly fired more less-lethal impact emissions at the protesters when they attempted to bring Justin Howell over to the police officers so he could receive medical attention.
APD says they will continue to provide updates as information becomes available.