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

Is Austin training police to be too aggressive? 10 ex-cadets say yes.
 Summer Spisak walked into the Austin police training academy in May for her first day, knowing the next eight months would push her to the brink. The 38-year-old former tech employee was ready for a career change — a job that would test her physical and mental stamina. What happened during the next two months left her defeated and disappointed...

Posted: a minute ago

Summer Spisak walked into the Austin police training academy in May for her first day, knowing the next eight months would push her to the brink. The 38-year-old former tech employee was ready for a career change — a job that would test her physical and mental stamina. What happened during the next two months left her defeated and disappointed...
Texas State fraternity member indicted in connection with pledge death
 A Hays County grand jury has indicted a Texas State University fraternity member who investigators say provided alcohol to a pledge who died of alcohol toxicity last year, according to court records and District Attorney Wes Mau. Austin Rice, 20, faces up to a year in jail and a $4,000 fine if convicted on the Class A misdemeanor in connection...

Posted: a day ago

A Hays County grand jury has indicted a Texas State University fraternity member who investigators say provided alcohol to a pledge who died of alcohol toxicity last year, according to court records and District Attorney Wes Mau. Austin Rice, 20, faces up to a year in jail and a $4,000 fine if convicted on the Class A misdemeanor in connection...
Texas State student indicted in 2017 death of fraternity pledge
 A Hays County grand jury has indicted a Texas State University student who investigators say provided alcohol to a fraternity pledge who died of alcohol toxicity last year, according to court records and District Attorney Wes Mau. Austin Rice, 20, faces up to a year in jail and a $4,000 fine if convicted on the Class A misdemeanor in connection...

Posted: a day ago

A Hays County grand jury has indicted a Texas State University student who investigators say provided alcohol to a fraternity pledge who died of alcohol toxicity last year, according to court records and District Attorney Wes Mau. Austin Rice, 20, faces up to a year in jail and a $4,000 fine if convicted on the Class A misdemeanor in connection...
Trans Am found in Dallas linked to Rachel Cooke case, Williamson sheriff says
 9:15 a.m. update: A Pontiac Trans Am that authorities found in Dallas is the car that witnessses reported seeing when Rachel Cooke, 19, disappeared while jogging in Georgetown in 2002, Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody said Friday morning.  Chody said the car is linked to three to four “persons of interest” in the...

Posted: 13 days ago

9:15 a.m. update: A Pontiac Trans Am that authorities found in Dallas is the car that witnessses reported seeing when Rachel Cooke, 19, disappeared while jogging in Georgetown in 2002, Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody said Friday morning.  Chody said the car is linked to three to four “persons of interest” in the...
Car possibly tied to Rachel Cooke case impounded for forensic analysis
 More than 16 years after Rachel Cooke vanished in Williamson County, authorities think they have located a sports car that could be the same one that raised the suspicions of witnesses in her neighborhood around the time of her disappearance, law enforcement sources told the American-Statesman and KVUE-TV. The car was located in recent days...

Posted: 13 days ago

More than 16 years after Rachel Cooke vanished in Williamson County, authorities think they have located a sports car that could be the same one that raised the suspicions of witnesses in her neighborhood around the time of her disappearance, law enforcement sources told the American-Statesman and KVUE-TV. The car was located in recent days...
Car linked to Rachel Cooke case impounded for forensic analysis
 More than 16 years after Rachel Cooke vanished in Williamson County, authorities think they have have located a sports car that could be the same one that raised the suspicions of witnesses in her neighborhood around the time of her disappearance, law enforcement sources told the American-Statesman and KVUE-TV. The car was located in recent...

Posted: 13 days ago

More than 16 years after Rachel Cooke vanished in Williamson County, authorities think they have have located a sports car that could be the same one that raised the suspicions of witnesses in her neighborhood around the time of her disappearance, law enforcement sources told the American-Statesman and KVUE-TV. The car was located in recent...
Why Austin bomber Mark Conditt’s confession may be kept secret — forever
 Hours after the Austin bomber killed himself as police closed in, investigators revealed that the man responsible for a series of attacks that killed two and injured five had left behind a 28-minute recorded confession. Reporters asked interim Police Chief Brian Manley if police planned to release the audio to the public, who had suffered...

Posted: 19 days ago

Hours after the Austin bomber killed himself as police closed in, investigators revealed that the man responsible for a series of attacks that killed two and injured five had left behind a 28-minute recorded confession. Reporters asked interim Police Chief Brian Manley if police planned to release the audio to the public, who had suffered...
Why Austin bomber Mark Conditt’s confession may be kept secret — forever
 Hours after the Austin bomber killed himself as police closed in, investigators revealed that the man responsible for a series of attacks that killed two and injured five had left behind a 28-minute recorded confession. Reporters asked interim Police Chief Brian Manley if police planned to release the audio to the public, who had suffered...

Posted: 19 days ago

Hours after the Austin bomber killed himself as police closed in, investigators revealed that the man responsible for a series of attacks that killed two and injured five had left behind a 28-minute recorded confession. Reporters asked interim Police Chief Brian Manley if police planned to release the audio to the public, who had suffered...
Professor whose felony case prompted UT policy change dies at 57
 Tenured University of Texas pharmacy professor Richard A. Morrisett, whose felony domestic violence case prompted a change in UT policies regarding school employees who commit crimes off campus, was found dead at his home on Thursday. The cause of death of Morrisett, 57, has not yet been determined by the medical examiner’s office,...

Posted: 19 days ago

Tenured University of Texas pharmacy professor Richard A. Morrisett, whose felony domestic violence case prompted a change in UT policies regarding school employees who commit crimes off campus, was found dead at his home on Thursday. The cause of death of Morrisett, 57, has not yet been determined by the medical examiner’s office,...
Professor whose felony case prompted UT policy change dies at 57
 Tenured University of Texas pharmacy professor Richard A. Morrisett, whose felony domestic violence case prompted a change in UT policies regarding school employees who commit crimes off campus, was found dead at his home on Thursday. The cause of death of Morrisett, 57, has not yet been determined by the medical examiner’s office,...

Posted: 20 days ago

Tenured University of Texas pharmacy professor Richard A. Morrisett, whose felony domestic violence case prompted a change in UT policies regarding school employees who commit crimes off campus, was found dead at his home on Thursday. The cause of death of Morrisett, 57, has not yet been determined by the medical examiner’s office,...
Medics may have tipped off the Austin bomber. EMS learned a lesson.
 Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services officials have established new ways of handling requests from law enforcement to be on standby while officers carry out secretive and potentially dangerous arrests and searches — the result of missteps that may have tipped off the Austin bomber that his house was under surveillance. EMS...

Posted: 22 days ago

Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services officials have established new ways of handling requests from law enforcement to be on standby while officers carry out secretive and potentially dangerous arrests and searches — the result of missteps that may have tipped off the Austin bomber that his house was under surveillance. EMS...