Lincoln Police officer placed on suspension following assault

LPD says the officer was off duty when the incident occurred, he was also under the influence.

A Lincoln Police officer has been placed on leave after being involved in an alleged assault investigation. Austin Espinoza has been cited for driving under the influence along with assault, both are misdemeanors.

According to a press release from LPD, the assault involved family acquaintances of Espinoza. Since the citation, Espinoza has been placed on unpaid investigative suspension. There is a criminal and internal investigation looking into the actions that occurred early Sunday morning.

 

Below is a press release from Police Chief Jeff Bliemeister detailing the incident.

 

On October 11, 2020, at approximately 2:30 a.m., officers with the Lincoln Police Department
were dispatched to the parking lot of Grata Bar and Lounge at 6891 A Street on a report of an
assault that had just occurred. As officers were responding, they were advised that the reporting
party was off-duty Lincoln police officer Austin Espinoza. LPD supervisors responded to
oversee the investigation.
During the investigation, officers learned that Espinoza was involved in an argument with a man
and woman who were family acquaintances. Espinoza reported being assaulted by the man and
the woman reported being assaulted by Espinoza. These assaults occurred while Espinoza was
seated in his vehicle. Both reported minor injuries, neither of which required medical attention.
Officers completed detailed interviews with witnesses about the assault.
As officers spoke with Espinoza, they developed reason to believe that he was under the
influence of an alcoholic beverage. Espinoza submitted to Standardized Field Sobriety Tests and
a preliminary breath test, both of which he failed. Officers transported Espinoza to The Bridge
where they conducted an official chemical test. The result showed an alcohol concentration of
.112 grams of alcohol/210 liters of breath. Officers cited Espinoza for Driving under the
Influence and Assault, both misdemeanors.
Austin Espinoza has been placed on unpaid, investigative suspension. In addition to the criminal
investigation, LPD is also conducting an internal investigation concerning this incident. The
policy guiding our internal investigative process is available for review at Lincoln Police General
Orders – Internal Investigations.

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