Investigator to examine alleged racist comments made by former Austin assistant police chief 

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Austin City Manager Spencer Cronk will hire an outside investigator to examine complaints against recently retired Assistant Police Chief Justin Newsom, the Austin American-Statesman reported.

An email from Cronk to Mayor Steve Adler and other city officials sent Thursday night revealed that formal complaints were filed anonymously against Newsom that day with the Office of Police Oversight. 

In the message, Cronk alluded to possible racist remarks, but the Statesman story said the basis of the complaints was not clear.

“I want to be very clear that my expectation for all of us who work for the City of Austin is that we treat each other, and every person we encounter, with dignity and respect,” Cronk wrote. “Racist language, slurs, intolerance, and derogatory behaviors are completely unacceptable in our community.

“I am saddened to have received these anonymous allegations, and I intend to fully understand if there is any truth to them. If there is, I will take appropriate action,” he said. 

The Statesman obtained emails that show Austin Police Chief Brian Manley was alerted to allegations regarding Newsom’s behavior in October and immediately asked the Office of Police Oversight to contact a complainant for specifics about the assistant chief’s alleged comments.

The mayor told the newspaper the city needs to be proactive in dealing with alleged incidents of racism.

“The manager is correct to initiate a third-party, independent investigation,” he said. “The community needs to know and then deal with the truth.”

The newspaper noted that Newsom abruptly resigned last week after serving 23 years with the police department. He said in a statement he had considered the move for months.

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