CRIME
11/01/2014 02:21 pm ET Updated Nov 01, 2014

Austin Police Department Apologizes For Officers' Rape Joke, Launches Investigation

The Austin Police Department confirmed on Friday that a video made public this week, in which two of its officers joke about rape, is authentic, and that it is currently conducting an investigation.

The video was posted to YouTube on Thursday by Austin attorney Drew Gibbs, who told local station KXAN that he acquired the video via an open records request as part of a "standard investigation" into a motor vehicle collision.

The video features the audio of officers Mark Lyttle and Michael Castillo as they talk in a squad car. "Look at that girl over there," one of the officers says around a minute into the tape, shortly after saying something about a rape whistle. A whistle then sounds, and one of them says, "Go ahead, call the cops. They can't unrape you."

"Ha, yeah exactly," replies his colleague, laughing. He then asks, "You didn't turn your camera off, did you?"

The first officer replies by repeating the punchline.

In a statement released to KEYE TV Friday, the Austin Police Department pledged to investigate the officers and apologized to sexual assault victims:

The Austin Police Department has validated the video/audio publicly released pursuant to the Texas Open Records Act. The officers in the video/audio have been identified as Austin Police officers. Upon learning of the video's contents, the Department immediately launched an internal investigation. The investigation will include a comprehensive audit of the involved officers' contacts with victims of sexual assault to ensure the actions taken during the contacts meet the expectations of the Department, the public and most importantly, the victims. Upon conclusion of the investigation, the Department will take appropriate corrective action.

APD extends a heartfelt apology to all victims of sexual assault. The comments made by the officers are contrary to the long-standing commitment of the Department to bring compassionate justice to sexual assault victims.

Local website Culturemap Austin also notes that City Manager Marc Ott requested that the Department of Justice conduct a formal investigation into the police department last year, after its officers shot two unarmed black men in separate incidents. The DOJ declined to investigate, citing a report it filed six years prior.

The Austin Police Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Huffington Post on Saturday.

H/T Gawker

WATCH the full video below. Note: It contains explicit language that may be offensive to some readers.

CONVERSATIONS