The ladies of Austin, Texas, might be feeling a little wary of their police department right now. Back in October, Austin officers Mark Lyttle and Michael Castillo accidentally taped themselves joking about raping a woman passing by their squad car. (“Go ahead, call the cops!” chuckled one. “They can’t un-rape you.”) Lyttle and Castillo ended up suspended from work for less than a week. Unfortunately, it seems the pair’s punishment failed to teach some of their co-workers a lesson.
Joy Diaz, a journalist for Texas NPR affiliate KUT, recently went to an Austin police union building to do an interview. While she was waiting for the official with whom she was scheduled to speak, Diaz was approached by a cop named Andrew Pietrowski. According to Diaz, Pietrowski struck up a conversation about the infamous video of former Ravens player Ray Rice punching out his wife, Janay.
Diaz says the officer told her that the press’s response to the incident was overblown: “Now, stop and think about this. I don’t care who you are. You think about the women’s movement today, [women say] ‘Oh, we want to go [into] combat,’ and then, ‘We want equal pay, and we want this.’ You want to go fight in combat and sit in a foxhole?” said Pietrowski in an audio recording made by Diaz. “You go right ahead, but a man can’t hit you in public here? Bullshit! You act like a whore, you get treated like one!” Really, it’s right here.
On Thursday, Diaz reported that she’d played Pietrowski’s comments for Austin police chief Art Acevedo, who correctly observed that, “Somebody [who] has that mentality has no business being a cop.” Apparently, Pietrowski reached the same conclusion — after learning that Diaz planned to air his take on Janay Rice, he resigned from the force on Friday. Meanwhile, Acevedo assured Diaz that officers who behave like Lyttle, Castillo, and Pietrowski are in “the extreme minority.” He probably has a point: Just think of all the guys who manage to say horrifying things without getting caught.