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Final arguments, decision in Olsen firing to be broadcast live

Thursday, February 7, 2008 by Austin Monitor

The city’s Civil Service Commission has reversed an earlier ruling and will move the closing arguments and the verdict in former APD Sgt. Michael Olsen’s use of force hearing to City Hall to be televised. The change was particularly gratifying to Council Member Sheryl Cole, who fought to get the proceedings televised live on Channel 6. (See In Fact Daily, January 29, 2008)

“I’m extremely pleased that the commission voted to promote transparency in use of force proceedings,” Cole said Wednesday. “I hope that in the future we will have even more of the trials broadcast live.”

Police Chief Art Acevedo fired Olsen on Nov. 28 after an internal review of the June 3, 2007 shooting death of Kevin Brown at Chester’s nightclub.

Cole, who had sponsored a resolution approved by the Council to broadcast police and firefighters’ disciplinary hearings, said she was extremely disappointed when she was told the location where the city holds those hearings is not equipped to broadcast live events.

The city announced Wednesday that the closing arguments and verdict phase of Olsen’s hearing would be moved to the Boards and Commissions Room at City hall in order that the proceedings could be broadcast live. Civil Service Commission hearings are normally held at the city’s Learning and Research Center, 2800 Spirit of Texas Dr. at Austin Bergstrom International Airport.

The evidentiary hearing is scheduled to run Feb. 19 -24, with the final arguments set for Feb. 29. Channel 6 will broadcast the testimony stage of the trial on a delayed basis after all witnesses have testified.

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