Speed Reads

The police state

The Austin Police Department has a sexism problem

In the last two months, the Austin Police Department has lost three officers for varying amounts of time due to sexism-related incidents. First, in October, officers Mark Lyttle and Michael Castillo were caught on dashboard video joking about rape victims, leading to their suspensions last month. Then, last Friday, a third officer resigned after learning his sexist comments would be aired on a local radio station, Texas NPR affiliate KUT.

KUT reporter Joy Diaz stopped by the city's police union building for a scheduled interview with the head of the union. She says that while she was waiting, Austin police officer Andrew Pietrowski approached her and brought up Ray Rice, the former NFL running back who was infamously caught on tape punching and knocking out his now-wife Janay. According to Diaz, Pietrowski said the incident was blown out of proportion by the media, expressing this disparaging opinion about women:

"Now, stop and think about this. I don't care who you are. You think about the women's movement today: [Women say] 'Oh, we want to go to combat,' and, 'We want equal pay, and we want this.' You want to go fight in combat and sit in a foxhole? You go right ahead. But a man can't hit you in public here? Bulls--t! You act like a ho, you get treated like one!" [KUT]

While Lyttle and Castillo were suspended for five and three days, respectively, Pietrowski preemptively resigned Dec. 12 after learning his comments to Diaz would be aired on the radio — probably a good move considering Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo had told Diaz that someone with "that mentality has no business being a cop."

Read Diaz's full account of the incident, and listen to Pietrowski's remarks, at KUT.