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City reveals more KeyPoint report missteps

Wednesday, May 26, 2010 by Austin Monitor

Another day, another apparent mistake from the Law Department in the handling of the KeyPoint Government Solutions report on the shooting of Nathaniel Sanders.

 

According to city officials, after he received the KeyPoint report that claimed Officer Leonardo Quintana used excessive force and flawed tactics in the moments leading up to Sanders’ death, Police Chief Art Acevedo turned to his former colleague California Highway Patrol Lieutenant Paul Golonski for his take on the report.

 

That was apparently in October, shortly after Acevedo received the report, about a month before he decided Quintana had not used excessive force or improper tactics.

 

Golonski responded by writing notes on the face of the report itself, calling KeyPoint “the Hubble telescope of 20-20 hindsight.” He added, “Gangsters were already getting guns and getting people in positions when the shooting went down.” The notes also refer to certain statements as “b.s.” and the witnesses as “bangers” and liars. But they also offer some advice about defending against the family’s lawsuit.

 

Assistant City Manager Mike McDonald told reporters Tuesday there was nothing wrong with Acevedo’s decision to share the then-confidential report with Golonski. McDonald, a former APD assistant chief, said Golonski had a “background in reconstruction of incidents like that.”

 

While that may be true, it seems clear that neither Golonski nor Acevedo anticipated that the handwritten scribbles Golonski sent back to Austin’s police chief would become part of documents turned over to the Sanders family’s attorney and released to the public.

 

Asked whether Acevedo used Golonski’s analysis, McDonald said, “The chief, in making decisions like that, will seek information from a lot of different sources, but only he can answer what goes into that, and we can’t discuss it right now because we’re in litigation.”

 

However, he said, “The feedback the chief received was not professional and … the bottom line — we do not support the comments and references that are made in that report by the individual that the chief allowed to review that report.”

 

“There is no justification for the language in that report, the biases in it, just across the board. Of course, the chief had no way of knowing that the report was going to come back that way,” he said.

 

McDonald said city lawyers discovered last Tuesday, the day before then City Attorney David Smith announced his retirement, that they had failed to provide the document to the plaintiff’s attorney. He said he and City Manager Marc Ott decided then that they must provide the document to Adam Loewy. In a letter hand-delivered to Loewy on Monday, Assistant City Attorney Chris Coppola said, “The ciy has not retained Mr. Golonski to testify at the trial of this matter, and does not intend to use these notes in connection with the litigation.”

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