The Austin Police Department has apologized after a video posted to YouTube showed two of its officers making rape jokes while in a patrol car.
The video, dated May 24, was posted Oct. 30 by Austin lawyer Drew Gibbs, who told Austin TV station KXAN he obtained the footage via an open records request. In the dashcam video, officers are heard saying that if they “ride out for a week, crime is gonna be on the run and (expletive) non-existent. (Expletive) would get real for the bad guys. The world would be at peace for a week.”
One officer then says, “Look at the girl over there,” before blowing a whistle.
The second officer is heard saying, “Go ahead and call the cops. They can’t unrape you.”
The first officer then asks, “You didn’t turn your camera off, did you?”
The second officer then says, “They can’t unrape you.”
The video briefly shows an officer walking in front of the police vehicle before the video ends.
After KXAN alerted APD officials to the video’s existence, the department released the following statement:
“Upon learning of the video’s contents, the Department immediately launched an internal investigation. The investigation will include a comprehensive audit of the involved officers’ contacts with victims of sexual assault to ensure the actions taken during the contacts meet the expectations of the Department, the public and most importantly, the victims. Upon conclusion of the investigation, the Department will take appropriate corrective action. APD extends a heartfelt apology to all victims of sexual assault. The comments made by the officers are contrary to the long-standing commitment of the Department to bring compassionate justice to sexual assault victims.”
The two officers have been identified as Mark Lyttle and Michael Castillo, CultureMap Austin reported.
The video is the latest in a series of public relations blunders for the department. In August, the Austin City council approved a $1.25 million settlement with the three children of Larry Eugene Jackson, fatally shot by Austin police officers in 2013, the Austin American-Statesman reported.
The department also endured criticism for arresting a female jogger accused of jaywalked in Austin’s West Campus neighborhood, KUT reported, where jaywalking is nothing if not common.
The U.S Department of Justice told Austin officials in 2013 that they would not review the department’s practices in the wake of six officer-involved shootings, the American-Statesman reported.