Austin police officer indicted, accused of hitting man with baton and Taser in 2021 arrest

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An Austin police officer was indicted by a Travis County grand jury on Tuesday on one felony charge and two misdemeanors following excessive force accusations against him in March 2021.

Officer Alejandro Gaitan was charged with a first-degree felony offense for aggravated assault by a public servant and two counts of Class A misdemeanors for official oppression, the Travis County district’s attorney’s office announced.

Gaitan is accused of using excessive force while attempting to arrest a handcuffed man who had an outstanding warrant, according to Austin police. Information gathered by the American-Statesman said Gaitan struck the man on his back with a baton and deployed his Taser inside an apartment on the 1900 block of Townesouth Circle in Southeast Austin.

The Police Department released a statement Tuesday saying the incident “immediately underwent an internal review process to determine if it was within policy and law.” It said the internal affairs unit, the department's executive team, the special investigations unit and the office of police oversight all reviewed the case before referring it to the district attorney's office.

The statement said that as a result of the reviews in March 2021, Chief Joseph Chacon made the decision to place Gaitan on restricted duty. Police said that Chacon suspended Gaitan on Feb. 13 without pay due to the pending felony and misdemeanor charges.

Gaitan’s case will be prosecuted by the civil rights unit, the Travis County DA’s office said.

This article originally appeared on Austin American-Statesman: Austin police officer Alejandro Gaitan indicted on three charges