Austin City Council members condemn alleged racism within Austin Police top brass

"Disturbing."  "Repugnant."  

This is how District 1 Austin City Council Member Natasha Harper-Madison describes allegations an anonymous whistleblower made to the Office of Police Oversight about former Assistant Police Chief Justin Newsom.

"It specifically claims that he used the words 'negro' and the other really awful 'n word' to describe President Obama and my predecessor, Council Member Ora Houston," Harper-Madison said.  

According to the formal complaint passed out at the press conference at City Hall on Friday, Newsom also allegedly used racist slurs to describe his colleague former Assistant Chief Frank Dixon.

"The idea that an open racist could rise to the top of the ranks of our police department should shake every Austinite to their very core," Harper-Madison said.  

Chas Moore with the Austin Justice Coalition worked with Newsom a lot.

"Really friendly guy, nice guy, but to hear that he's not such a nice guy was really disappointing," Moore said.

Newsom sent this statement:

"I am aware of the anonymous complaint that has been filed against me. Although I don't remember having made the alleged statements, I have used inappropriate language in private conversations with friends.  Racial insensitivity is inexcusable and doesn't reflect my values, the values of our community, or the Austin Police Department.  Despite using poor judgment, I hope my 23-year career as a police officer who treated everyone with dignity and respect will reflect my best intentions to serve this city.  I sincerely apologize to anyone that I may have hurt with my words."

"The City Manager is absolutely correct in ordering an in-depth investigation into these highly credible accusations," Harper-Madison said.  

In a memo, City Manager Spencer Cronk said "Given the allegations, I have decided to engage an outside party to investigate. My hope is to have an investigator on board next week."

"Chief Manley or Chief Gay or whoever, those are the two guys I know: If they did know about this, that is a problem, right? They do need to be held accountable, I'm not saying they need to be fired or whatnot," Moore said.

Harper-Madison says the City Manager's investigation must be a top priority.

"Who knew what? And when?" she said.

The Austin Police Association announced this afternoon they are supporting the City Manager's investigation and they're also asking the City to investigate Chief Manley, Assistant City Manager Rey Arellano and the City's law department for how they handle allegations like this.

According to APA President Ken Casaday, Cronk will also include the below request sent to him by members of the APA board.

READ THE APA'S LETTER BELOW: