The family of a teen who fatally shot himself in the back of an APD patrol car is upset with the department's punishment of the officer, who by omission, failed to properly search the teen.
They called the officer's 20-day suspension "a vacation."
On January 8th, loss prevention officers at Barton Creek Mall detained19-year-old Zachary Anam for shoplifting. Officer Iven Wall responded.
According to APD, loss prevention officers searched Anam, but Wall says he only patted him down instead of doing a complete search. While in route to APD headquarters, police say Anam said he was suicidal, removed his seatbelt, pulled a gun out of his waistband and shot himself in the head.
He died the next day.
On Thursday, Interim Chief Brian Manley suspended Officer Wall for 20 days.
Manley issued a number of terms including requiring Wall to attend training at the department's request and assisting cadet training staff in speaking with future officers to prevent a reoccurrence.
Wall will be on probation for one year.
Should he commit a similar act of misconduct he will be indefinitely suspended without the right to appeal. Outside of that year he will be indefinitely suspended with right to appeal.
Before the official notice was made public, Anam's father released a statement expressing what he called severe disappointment. "A twenty-day suspension is like a vacation,” said Sayeed Anam.
Family attorney Jeff Edwards said "This appears to be a systemic failure on the part of APD. Unless Chief Manley commits to re-training every officer so that they learn how to properly frisk suspects, this will happen to someone else."
Austin Police Association President Ken Casaday responded, "No one can punish Officer Wall more than he has punished himself. This was a tragic event, and Officer Wall thinks about it every day when he puts someone in the back of his patrol car."
In addition to not following department search protocol, Wall was disciplined for not properly collecting evidence. According to the city memo, Wall threw away a box cutter used by the suspect during the alleged theft incident instead of taking it into evidence.