Tony Plohetski

Investigative reporter

Tony Plohetski has been a reporter for the American-Statesman since 2000 and focuses on Austin city government, law enforcement and criminal justice issues. He has chronicled the fallout of controversial police shootings and written about how police labor contracts have allowed officers to cash in thousands of hours in unused sick time upon retirement, costing taxpayers millions of dollars. Most recently, he has exposed flaws in testing of firefighter job applicants and reported on a relatively high rate of DWI case dismissals in Travis County and a staff shortage at Austin's 911 center. He has been recognized by the Texas Associated Press Managing Editors and the American Society of Sunday and Feature Editors. 

Latest from Tony Plohetski

Officer in Breaion King case fired amid new force complaint
 An Austin police officer who received a reprimand for his violent arrest of a teacher in 2015 was fired Monday after officials said he used excessive force on a suspect. Officer Bryan Richter lost his job stemming from an incident in which Richter and other officers were serving a warrant as part of a special team in the department&rsquo...

Posted: a day ago

An Austin police officer who received a reprimand for his violent arrest of a teacher in 2015 was fired Monday after officials said he used excessive force on a suspect. Officer Bryan Richter lost his job stemming from an incident in which Richter and other officers were serving a warrant as part of a special team in the department&rsquo...
Officer in Breaion King arrest facing discipline over new force case
 An Austin police officer whose violent 2015 arrest of an elementary teacher received national attention and sparked reforms within the department is facing punishment that could include termination amid a new allegation involving excessive force. Officials are expected early this week to complete the disciplinary process for Officer...

Posted: 2 days ago

An Austin police officer whose violent 2015 arrest of an elementary teacher received national attention and sparked reforms within the department is facing punishment that could include termination amid a new allegation involving excessive force. Officials are expected early this week to complete the disciplinary process for Officer...
New APD policy emphasizes defusion, alternatives to using force
 Austin police have enacted a new policy that requires officers to first try to tamp down a volatile situation before turning to more aggressive means, including using their guns, batons and Tasers. The move comes amid a national effort among law enforcement aimed at curtailing violent clashes between officers and suspects. According to a...

Posted: 4 days ago

Austin police have enacted a new policy that requires officers to first try to tamp down a volatile situation before turning to more aggressive means, including using their guns, batons and Tasers. The move comes amid a national effort among law enforcement aimed at curtailing violent clashes between officers and suspects. According to a...
New Austin police policy emphasizes alternatives to using force
 Austin police have enacted a new policy that requires officers to first try to tamp down a volatile situation before turning to more aggressive means, including using their guns, batons or Tasers. The move comes amid a national effort among law enforcement aimed at curtailing violent clashes between officers and suspects. According to a new...

Posted: 4 days ago

Austin police have enacted a new policy that requires officers to first try to tamp down a volatile situation before turning to more aggressive means, including using their guns, batons or Tasers. The move comes amid a national effort among law enforcement aimed at curtailing violent clashes between officers and suspects. According to a new...
Austin police monitor named, with watchdog agency’s future in doubt
 Austin interim City Manager Elaine Hart has appointed a new police monitor who will oversee the watchdog agency for the foreseeable future. Attorney Farah Muscadin, a Chicago-area native with a law degree from the University of Iowa, has worked in various government jobs in the Chicago area for more than 15 years. She will begin serving as...

Posted: 5 days ago

Austin interim City Manager Elaine Hart has appointed a new police monitor who will oversee the watchdog agency for the foreseeable future. Attorney Farah Muscadin, a Chicago-area native with a law degree from the University of Iowa, has worked in various government jobs in the Chicago area for more than 15 years. She will begin serving as...
Half of Llano police force is on leave in Texas Rangers investigation
 Nearly half of the small Llano Police Department, including its chief, is on leave because of an investigation by prosecutors and the Texas Rangers stemming from an incident in the spring. Llano County District Attorney Sonny McAfee confirmed the ongoing investigation Tuesday and said he is unsure when it might be completed. “Anytime...

Posted: 7 days ago

Nearly half of the small Llano Police Department, including its chief, is on leave because of an investigation by prosecutors and the Texas Rangers stemming from an incident in the spring. Llano County District Attorney Sonny McAfee confirmed the ongoing investigation Tuesday and said he is unsure when it might be completed. “Anytime...
Llano DA: Unclear when investigation involving police will be finished
 Llano County District Attorney Sonny McAfee said Tuesday that he and Texas Rangers are working to finish an investigation involving four Llano police officers, including the department’s chief, but is unsure when it may be completed. “Anytime we have a complaint from a citizen that there is a potential criminal liability on law...

Posted: 7 days ago

Llano County District Attorney Sonny McAfee said Tuesday that he and Texas Rangers are working to finish an investigation involving four Llano police officers, including the department’s chief, but is unsure when it may be completed. “Anytime we have a complaint from a citizen that there is a potential criminal liability on law...
State lawyer says Greg Kelley could prove actual innocence in sex assault case
 A lawyer appointed by the highest criminal court in Texas has lodged concerns over an effort to overturn the sexual assault conviction of a former Leander High School football star, telling the judges that allegations of poor policing and inadequate legal representation aren’t enough to exonerate Greg Kelley. But the Court of Criminal...

Posted: 12 days ago

A lawyer appointed by the highest criminal court in Texas has lodged concerns over an effort to overturn the sexual assault conviction of a former Leander High School football star, telling the judges that allegations of poor policing and inadequate legal representation aren’t enough to exonerate Greg Kelley. But the Court of Criminal...
Travis County’s effort to prosecute officer in fatal shooting ends
 Travis County’s determined effort to prosecute a former Austin police detective who fatally shot an unarmed black man during a bank robbery investigation has ended at the U.S. Supreme Court. The nation’s highest court announced Monday that it will not take up the case, upholding the rulings of lower courts that cleared Charles...

Posted: 15 days ago

Travis County’s determined effort to prosecute a former Austin police detective who fatally shot an unarmed black man during a bank robbery investigation has ended at the U.S. Supreme Court. The nation’s highest court announced Monday that it will not take up the case, upholding the rulings of lower courts that cleared Charles...
Supreme Court lets Kleinert ruling on Austin police shooting stand
 The U.S. Supreme Court will not take up a case involving a former Austin police detective who fatally shot a man in July 2013. The decision by the nation’s highest court means that rulings by lower courts will stand in the case against Charles Kleinert, who fatally shot Larry Jackson during a bank robbery investigation. Kleinert has...

Posted: 15 days ago

The U.S. Supreme Court will not take up a case involving a former Austin police detective who fatally shot a man in July 2013. The decision by the nation’s highest court means that rulings by lower courts will stand in the case against Charles Kleinert, who fatally shot Larry Jackson during a bank robbery investigation. Kleinert has...
Future of Austin’s police monitor’s office, oversight panel in question
 When Austin city officials opened their police monitor’s office in February 2002, they credited a police employment contract for giving the new oversight agency unfettered access to confidential internal affairs records about officer misconduct allegations. Police union and city officials touted the decision to allow civilians working...

Posted: 18 days ago

When Austin city officials opened their police monitor’s office in February 2002, they credited a police employment contract for giving the new oversight agency unfettered access to confidential internal affairs records about officer misconduct allegations. Police union and city officials touted the decision to allow civilians working...