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

Autopsy shows blood alcohol content of 0.38 in Texas State pledge who died
 A Texas State University fraternity pledge found dead in November at an off-campus apartment after a fraternity event had a blood alcohol content of 0.38, according to an autopsy report obtained by the American-Statesman and KVUE-TV. Matthew McKinley Ellis, 20, had a level that was more than four times the legal limit to drive in Texas. He...

Posted: 8 days ago

A Texas State University fraternity pledge found dead in November at an off-campus apartment after a fraternity event had a blood alcohol content of 0.38, according to an autopsy report obtained by the American-Statesman and KVUE-TV. Matthew McKinley Ellis, 20, had a level that was more than four times the legal limit to drive in Texas. He...
TEXAS STATE PLEDGE’S DEATH: Autopsy shows blood alcohol content of 0.38
 A Texas State University fraternity pledge found dead in November at an off-campus apartment following a fraternity event had a blood alcohol content of 0.38, according to an autopsy report obtained by the American-Statesman and KVUE-TV. Matthew McKinley Ellis, 20, had a level that was more than four times the legal limit to drive in Texas...

Posted: 8 days ago

A Texas State University fraternity pledge found dead in November at an off-campus apartment following a fraternity event had a blood alcohol content of 0.38, according to an autopsy report obtained by the American-Statesman and KVUE-TV. Matthew McKinley Ellis, 20, had a level that was more than four times the legal limit to drive in Texas...
Second suspect charged in Cedar Park crash that killed two children
 A second man has been arrested and charged in a crash that killed two children and critically injured a woman in Cedar Park, according to court records and the man’s attorney. Blake Ayres Kirkpatrick of Cedar Park, 21, and a second suspect are accused of drag racing in the moments before the crash. Kirkpatrick’s attorney, Bob...

Posted: 10 days ago

A second man has been arrested and charged in a crash that killed two children and critically injured a woman in Cedar Park, according to court records and the man’s attorney. Blake Ayres Kirkpatrick of Cedar Park, 21, and a second suspect are accused of drag racing in the moments before the crash. Kirkpatrick’s attorney, Bob...
Austin’s first female Fire Chief, Rhoda Mae Kerr, takes job in Florida
 Austin Fire Chief Rhoda Mae Kerr, the first woman to lead the department, announced Wednesday that she is leaving and will take the helm of the Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue, where her career began in South Florida 30 years ago. Kerr will remain in her job for the next four months, allowing her to complete several projects before transitioning...

Posted: 10 days ago

Austin Fire Chief Rhoda Mae Kerr, the first woman to lead the department, announced Wednesday that she is leaving and will take the helm of the Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue, where her career began in South Florida 30 years ago. Kerr will remain in her job for the next four months, allowing her to complete several projects before transitioning...
Austin’s first female fire chief, Rhoda Mae Kerr, takes job in Florida
 Austin Fire Chief Rhoda Mae Kerr, the first woman to lead the Fire Department, announced Wednesday that she is leaving and will take the helm of Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue, where her career began in South Florida 30 years ago. Kerr will remain in her Austin post for the next four months, allowing her to complete several projects before transitioning...

Posted: 10 days ago

Austin Fire Chief Rhoda Mae Kerr, the first woman to lead the Fire Department, announced Wednesday that she is leaving and will take the helm of Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue, where her career began in South Florida 30 years ago. Kerr will remain in her Austin post for the next four months, allowing her to complete several projects before transitioning...
APD officer cleared in Burnet County roadside shooting
 A Burnet County grand jury declined Tuesday to take action against an Austin police officer whose actions officials say likely saved a family of three from harm following a road rage incident in late November. District Attorney Sonny McAfee said that based on his review, Officer Jason Jewett’s actions were “lawful and justified...

Posted: 11 days ago

A Burnet County grand jury declined Tuesday to take action against an Austin police officer whose actions officials say likely saved a family of three from harm following a road rage incident in late November. District Attorney Sonny McAfee said that based on his review, Officer Jason Jewett’s actions were “lawful and justified...
In 5 weeks, she lost her son and husband. Here’s what keeps her going.
 Nine months ago, Lori Brown was in her classroom at an elementary school when she got a call that her 19-year-old son had been stabbed at the University of Texas and was bleeding badly. Harrison Brown was one of four victims in what police say was a random attack on May 1. The other three survived. For Lori, his death came at a time when...

Posted: 15 days ago

Nine months ago, Lori Brown was in her classroom at an elementary school when she got a call that her 19-year-old son had been stabbed at the University of Texas and was bleeding badly. Harrison Brown was one of four victims in what police say was a random attack on May 1. The other three survived. For Lori, his death came at a time when...
Austin officer in Breaion King case files appeal after firing
 Two Austin police officers are on a quest to get their jobs back. Officers Bryan Richter and Steven McCurley were fired last week for excessive force and dishonesty. Now, they’ve formally filed appeals with the city — beginning what likely will become a months-long process. During an arrest of a man at Barton Creek Square Mall...

Posted: 17 days ago

Two Austin police officers are on a quest to get their jobs back. Officers Bryan Richter and Steven McCurley were fired last week for excessive force and dishonesty. Now, they’ve formally filed appeals with the city — beginning what likely will become a months-long process. During an arrest of a man at Barton Creek Square Mall...
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: 26 days 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: 27 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: 29 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...