Cop Out

Texas cop slapped with suspension for calling protester “that gay dude”

Austin Police during the May 2020 #BlackLivesMatter protests. Via Shutterstock.

Meet Ryan Seweryn, an Austin, TX-based police officer. Seweryn became the object of an internal investigation which resulted in his suspension from the force following an altercation in May in which he stereotyped a #BlackLivesMatter protester as “gay.”

Seweryn’s 10-day suspension began last week and will conclude December 5. Local NBC affiliate KXAN reports that the disciplinary action resulted from an encounter in which his body camera caught him referring to a man as “that gay dude with the short shorts in the black shirt.” In a subsequent internal affairs investigation, Seweryn admitted to making the comment, 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.”

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He further stated that he did not make any assumptions about the protester’s sexual orientation, but rather “the individual’s clothing was consistent with the clothing styles he believed people wore at Gay Pride parades.” Seweryn also stated that he did not believe his comments were inappropriate.

Internal affairs disagreed, and disciplined the officer with a 10-day suspension. Police records show that this is the second suspension Seweryn has faced since September, following another 10-day forced leave for making disrespectful comments to a colleague via text message.

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