AUSTIN, Texas - The Austin Police Association is trying to encourage an investigation into the director of the Office of Police Oversight.
However, the city manager said after looking into their concerns and speaking with the director about the allegations, he is comfortable with her in that role.
APA President Ken Casaday said they investigated Farah Muscadin, the director of the Office of Police Oversight, and found some disturbing information about her past career at Chicago State University. “If these things are true she needs to be fired immediately,” he said.
Muscadin said the claims APA is making would've been easily disproved by a two-second internet search, so she feels this is really an attempt at character assassination.
“They don’t care about the truth, because it's readily available. A 2-year-old could do this research and figure out what happened,” said Muscadin.
Casaday sent a letter to Austin City Manager Spencer Cronk noting Muscadin's name was mentioned in a lawsuit alleging a conspiracy to falsely accuse a professor of sexual harassment while she was working as Dean of Students at Chicago State University. He also provided board of trustee meeting minutes mentioning Muscadin had been “terminated.”
“We want a full, complete investigation of what has happened and transpired because, if you set people up to be fired and your university fires you for that offense, how the hell is she the police monitor here in Austin, Texas?” Casaday said.
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Muscadin said that's not even close to what happened. She supplied her notice of intent to terminate from the board of trustees, explaining she was terminated for budgetary reasons. She also provided a copy of the lawsuit in question after it was dismissed and an appeal denied.
“I was one of 300 people laid off because the State of Illinois couldn’t pass a budget and I worked at a state university. This lawsuit has nothing to do with me and there’s nothing that Ken Casaday could say that it does,” said Muscadin.
Cronk responded to Casaday’s letter writing, "...I will note that these questions have been raised in the past, so it is not the first time I have heard of them. I have had an opportunity to discuss the issues with Farah, and I remain comfortable with the OPO. I will not pursue any further actions related to the issues you raised at this time."
Casaday forwarded the communication between himself and Cronk to police association members.
He said Muscadin has lost their trust. “We want to see an independent person look into this because if we’re all about transparency and accountability, she needs to be transparent and accountable to the public just like we are,” Casaday said.
“I'm a black woman in Austin who's working in police oversight and it’s really unfortunate that my credentials and attempt for my reputation to be in question and it really begs the question if I looked differently if that would happen to anybody else,” said Muscadin.
Casaday said he has no issues with the Office of Police Oversight, he just wants to know he can trust those involved.