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

Social media spat leads to charge against Williamson County official
 In his 18 months in office, Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody has built a Twitter following of more than 10,000 by sharing information about road closures and high-profile arrests and pictures of deputies and police dogs on the job and at play. Chody also recently weighed in on the management of county government in a series of social...

Posted: 2 days ago

In his 18 months in office, Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody has built a Twitter following of more than 10,000 by sharing information about road closures and high-profile arrests and pictures of deputies and police dogs on the job and at play. Chody also recently weighed in on the management of county government in a series of social...
Social media spat leads to misdemeanor charge for Williamson Co. judge
 In his 18 months in office, Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody has built a Twitter following of more than 10,000 by sharing information about road closures, high-profile arrests and sometimes pictures of deputies doing their job on the street. Chody also recently weighed in about the management of county government in a series social...

Posted: 2 days ago

In his 18 months in office, Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody has built a Twitter following of more than 10,000 by sharing information about road closures, high-profile arrests and sometimes pictures of deputies doing their job on the street. Chody also recently weighed in about the management of county government in a series social...
Authorities arrest third suspect tied to March 2 killing of Austin jeweler
 Two days before Austin jeweler Ted Shaughnessy was shot dead in his southwestern Travis County home, three men, including his son, were discussing a plan to kill him and his wife, court documents released Wednesday say. Travis County sheriff’s investigators arrested Johnny Roman Leon III, 21, in College Station on Wednesday, making...

Posted: 9 days ago

Two days before Austin jeweler Ted Shaughnessy was shot dead in his southwestern Travis County home, three men, including his son, were discussing a plan to kill him and his wife, court documents released Wednesday say. Travis County sheriff’s investigators arrested Johnny Roman Leon III, 21, in College Station on Wednesday, making...
Baby in Williamson daycare death died of natural causes, officials say
 A 5-month-old boy who died at a Williamson County in-home daycare in May suffered from infant death syndrome and his death was from natural causes, Justice of the Peace Bill Gravell said Tuesday. Gravell said the boy had no drugs in his system. The death sparked what Sheriff Robert Chody said was a criminal investigation. A search warrant...

Posted: 10 days ago

A 5-month-old boy who died at a Williamson County in-home daycare in May suffered from infant death syndrome and his death was from natural causes, Justice of the Peace Bill Gravell said Tuesday. Gravell said the boy had no drugs in his system. The death sparked what Sheriff Robert Chody said was a criminal investigation. A search warrant...
Hit-and-run case tied to Austin ISD police officer goes to grand jury
 Travis County prosecutors plan to take a hit-and-run case in which an Austin school district police resource officer was investigated to a grand jury later this month to determine if any charges will be filed. Assistant District Attorney Matthew Foye confirmed the development Tuesday. A woman was critically injured in the incident, which...

Posted: 10 days ago

Travis County prosecutors plan to take a hit-and-run case in which an Austin school district police resource officer was investigated to a grand jury later this month to determine if any charges will be filed. Assistant District Attorney Matthew Foye confirmed the development Tuesday. A woman was critically injured in the incident, which...
Man punched by Austin police on viral video says officers attacked him 
 A man who was punched by an Austin police officer during an  arrest caught in a viral video early Wednesday says that police attacked him from behind and did not give him an opportunity to talk before they turned aggressive. In an interview Friday with the American-Statesman and KVUE-TV, Justin Grant, 23, said he was not aware that officers...

Posted: 14 days ago

A man who was punched by an Austin police officer during an arrest caught in a viral video early Wednesday says that police attacked him from behind and did not give him an opportunity to talk before they turned aggressive. In an interview Friday with the American-Statesman and KVUE-TV, Justin Grant, 23, said he was not aware that officers...
Police: Nation’s oldest WWII vet may have been victim of cyber-crime
 Investigators trying to learn who depleted the bank account of the nation’s oldest World War II think he likely was the victim of a random cyber-crime — not from someone he knew who had access to his accounts. Assistant Police Chief Joe Chacon confirmed the details Thursday and said that because the crime against Richard...

Posted: 15 days ago

Investigators trying to learn who depleted the bank account of the nation’s oldest World War II think he likely was the victim of a random cyber-crime — not from someone he knew who had access to his accounts. Assistant Police Chief Joe Chacon confirmed the details Thursday and said that because the crime against Richard...
Wife of Austin jeweler shot in home speaks to investigators
 The wife of an Austin jeweler shot in his home in March in what authorities describe as a murder-for-hire plot recently met with investigators and continues standing by her accused son, her attorney said. Corey Shaughnessy “was asked, through me, by law enforcement and the district attorney’s office to make a statement, and she...

Posted: 17 days ago

The wife of an Austin jeweler shot in his home in March in what authorities describe as a murder-for-hire plot recently met with investigators and continues standing by her accused son, her attorney said. Corey Shaughnessy “was asked, through me, by law enforcement and the district attorney’s office to make a statement, and she...
Police: Caldwell County man uses rattlesnake in neighbor dispute
 Police call it a botched case of “rattlesnake revenge.” Two men who live in RVs next to each other in rural Caldwell County got into an argument last week that authorities say escalated, with one of them turning iconic Texas wildlife into a potentially deadly weapon. It happened when one of them stumbled upon a rattlesnake, removed...

Posted: 20 days ago

Police call it a botched case of “rattlesnake revenge.” Two men who live in RVs next to each other in rural Caldwell County got into an argument last week that authorities say escalated, with one of them turning iconic Texas wildlife into a potentially deadly weapon. It happened when one of them stumbled upon a rattlesnake, removed...
Police: Caldwell County man uses rattlesnake in neighbor dispute
 Police call it a botched case of “rattlesnake revenge.” Two men who live in RVs next to each other in rural Caldwell County got into an argument last week that authorities say escalated, with one of them turning iconic Texas wildlife into a potentially deadly weapon. It happened when one of them stumbled upon a rattlesnake, removed...

Posted: 20 days ago

Police call it a botched case of “rattlesnake revenge.” Two men who live in RVs next to each other in rural Caldwell County got into an argument last week that authorities say escalated, with one of them turning iconic Texas wildlife into a potentially deadly weapon. It happened when one of them stumbled upon a rattlesnake, removed...
Police Chief Manley calls for stronger ‘guardian’ culture at academy
 Austin Police Chief Brian Manley is calling for a cultural shift of the department’s training academy that will emphasize the role of officers as public servants, not strictly enforcers of the law, and treat cadets as students in an adult-learning classroom rather than military recruits. It is one of Manley’s first initiatives...

Posted: 22 days ago

Austin Police Chief Brian Manley is calling for a cultural shift of the department’s training academy that will emphasize the role of officers as public servants, not strictly enforcers of the law, and treat cadets as students in an adult-learning classroom rather than military recruits. It is one of Manley’s first initiatives...