Austin Police Officer Ryan Seweryn has received a 10 day suspension for calling a Black Lives Matter protester "that gay dude with the short shorts in the black shirt." The incident took place at a Black Lives Matter protest back in May. Footage from Sewerlyn's body camera caught Seweryn making the comment to his fellow officers when describing a protester.
The comment has been called a harmful stereotype by internal affairs investigators who said that by uttering it Officer Seweryn breached the department's "responsibility to the community." Officer Sewerlyn defended his comments to investigators saying "If there was a male in feminine clothing I would describe that individual as gay ... in order for my fellow officers to identify the individual," while at the same time denying that he assumes a person's sexual orientation based on how they dress, but "the individual's clothing was consistent with the clothing styles he believed people wore at Gay Pride parades." He insisted that his comment was a "description of the clothing of the person, not a physical description of the person themselves," while at the same time admitting on the radio that he would not feel comfortable doing that again.
When questioned about police academy training Seweryn admitted that he was never trained to use the word "gay" when describing someone and that he never referred to a subject as a "straight dude." He will finish serving his suspension on December 5th.
This is Seweryn's second suspension this fall. In September he was suspended over a meme he sent via text message to officers during his shift. The meme was described by the APD as a booking photo of a fellow APD employee who was 17 years old at the time the photo was taken. The caption included with the image in the meme was not quoted by the APD in the memo regarding the incident. They did say that the employee was embarrassed and that Seweryn violated several APD policies coving privacy of criminal records and conduct generally considered acceptable behavior.
Public records list one Ryan David Seweryn as 26 years of age.