Austin police officer indicted by Grand Jury for using excessive force

An Austin Police Department officer has been indicted by a Travis County Grand Jury for his use of excessive force.

The Travis County District Attorney's Office announced the indictment against Officer Alejandro Gaitan. 

APD says the indictment stemmed from his action during an incident that happened on March 12, 2021. Gaitan is accused of using excessive force while attempting to arrest a subject who had an outstanding warrant.

On March 9, 2023, a Grand Jury in the 331st Judicial District Court returned a three-count indictment charging Gaitan with the felony offenses of aggravated assault by public servant, a 1st-degree felony, and two counts of official oppression, a Class A misdemeanor.

Gaitan’s case is expected to be prosecuted by the Office’s Civil Rights Unit and is pending in the 331st Judicial District Court for Travis County.

The allegations against Gaitan were investigated and later referred to the Travis County DA's office by the APD's Special Investigations Unit in June 2021.

Upon the release of the news from the Travis County DA, APD issued its own statement saying it was aware of the indictment. 

"This use of force incident, like all use of force incidents at APD, immediately underwent an internal review process to determine if it was within policy and law. This review process included members of the Internal Affairs Unit, APD Executive Team, and the Special Investigations Unit (SIU). The Office of Police Oversight also reviewed the incident and APD SIU staffed the case with the Travis County District Attorney’s Office," APD says.

APD Chief Joseph Chacon had placed Gaitan on restricted duty in March 2021 as a result of the reviews. On February 13, 2023, Gaitan was suspended without pay.

 "Upon notification and review of this incident, APD immediately launched an internal investigation and on March 26, 2021, the case was forwarded to the Special Investigations Unit to conduct a criminal investigation," said Chief Chacon. in a statement 

"I respect the Grand Jury process, and for that reason, I made the decision at that time to delay taking further administrative action until the case could be reviewed by a Travis County Grand Jury, consistent with prior practice," Chacon adds.

APD says it will continue to cooperate with the Travis County District Attorney’s Office on this case. Two other officers involved received 90-day suspensions for failing to intervene.