Austin Police Officer Thomas Tuminelli has been suspended for an off duty incident in which he drove recklessly and pulled on gun on another driver who rear-ended him. The incident took place on May 23, 2020 but Tuminelli was not suspended until November 11, 2020. His suspension is just 60 days and he will be back on duty January 9, 2020. Tuminelli was not criminally charged.
According to media reports, Tuminelli was running late for work and driving at an average speed of 96 MPH on Interstate 35. In the process he got into it with another driver whom he began tailgating, cutting in front of, and brake checking. When they got off the freeway Tuminelli sped towards a stop sign, stopped suddenly, and got rear ended. Most of the incident was caught on camera by dash cameras in both vehicles, but unfortunately we could not find the footage online anywhere. The footage allegedly showed Tuminelli jumping out of his vehicle, brandishing his gun, and engaging in a profanity laced argument with the other driver during which Tuminelli identified himself as a police officer, but was not in uniform.
When his fellow officers arrived at the scene Tuminelli said that he pulled his gun because he thought the other driver may have rear ended him on purpose. One officer responded by giving the other driver instructions for how to file an Internal Affairs (IA) complaint which he did. Tuminelli told IA that he was driving recklessly to get away from the other driver, but later acknowledged that brake checking could not be reasonably construed as an effort to get away under any circumstances. Eventually he admitted that his emotions got the best of him.
While on suspension Tuminelli will be required to undergo a psychological evaluation. We think that Tuminelli got off too easy. That two months off with therapy is a slap on the wrist for someone that should have been fired and arrested. We believe that Tuminelli violated Texas Penal Code 22.05 which states “A person commits an offense if he recklessly engages in conduct that places another in imminent danger of serious bodily injury… Recklessness and danger are presumed if the actor knowingly pointed a firearm at or in the direction of another whether or not the actor believed the firearm to be loaded.” (https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/PE/htm/PE.22.htm).
Published at Sat, 21 Nov 2020 18:48:14 +0000