“They have corrupted and twisted the system.” Whistleblower of the Week: Austin Handle.

Austin Handle is the all-American boy next door, well educated, smart, articulate, and sincere. Handle is a Captain America Doppelgänger. He is not for defunding the police but is for common sense community policing. His views resonate with a strong belief in how good the law could be in the future. Any Police Department would love to hire a man like Austin Handle. Hard-working like his first responder dad, he is resourceful, athletic, and compassionate. Handle grew up in Florida, with a mother who stayed at home and was “wonderful” to her son. He enjoyed sports in High School and signed up for the Marine Corps Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC). At seventeen, he signed up for the Marine Corps, and at eighteen, served in the Reserve with Tennessee as his home unit.

Handle went to college at the University of West Georgia. While there, he founded a chapter of Phi Delta Theta, finding his original pledging fraternity to be hostile to minorities who wanted to join. Handle wanted a fraternity that was open to everyone and became the first President of his newly formed Phi Delta Theta Chapter. Not only did Handle graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Criminology and a Minor in sociology and psychology, but he also worked as a Police Officer for the University after attending the police academy.

Handle stated that his parents raised him with moral values and a sense of fairness for those around him. He was ambitious, highly qualified, and an asset to any law enforcement job. He graduated in 2017 and started working full-time with the Dunwoody Police Department, Dunwoody, Georgia. He said he was not aware that in 2016, a Dunwoody Police Officer had written a complaint against his supervisor (hereafter known as “AD”) for making sexually inappropriate remarks.

Handle says he had problems with AD from the beginning. He had been assisting a suicidal friend and was a few minutes late for his swearing-in ceremony, AD screamed at him in front of people, and it was humiliating. From that day forward, Handle alleges that AD started harassing him, which he suggests was a way for AD to groom fellow officers into “play for pay.”

AD was allegedly the official who granted officers extra jobs, which meant extra money. If you wanted commendations, promotions, or additional jobs, Handle says, you had to submit to his demands for pictures of your genitalia or allow him to perform a sexual act. There are allegedly text messages from AD that reveal that officers received sexually harassing messages or orders for sexual materials in exchange for work benefits. If you did not play along, Handle says, you would subsequently be harassed, retaliated against, or fired. Once, AD allegedly took a picture over a bathroom stall where a fellow officer was using the toilet. AD then allegedly circulated the photo. It was concerning.

Into this sexual stew stepped Handle, an honorable man who was not aware of the history of AD’s alledged predatory behavior. Handle’s problems started with false accusations lodged against him, such as allegedly speeding in his police vehicle. This charge was wrong, as a spate of others that followed. Over two years, Handle says he was consistently harassed with false accusations. He was forced into defending himself against these false claims, and he persistently provided proof that the claims were wrong. He says his Sergeant advised him to stay out of sight because every time AD saw him, AD wrote Handle up.

Handle says that at one point, two officers appeared at Handle’s house and surreptitiously took pictures of his den under the guise of an “untruthfulness” investigation. Handle has 72 pages of positive commendations from citizens and his Sergeant. Unknown to Handle, behind his back, Dunwoody allegedly sent officers to discover if the commendations were real. They found that they were undoubtedly genuine.

During his two years at Dunwoody Police Department, Handle’s name was always at the top for traffic stops, arrests, citations, and business checks. Commendations, however, seemed to be going to people who were not getting those high numbers. Handle then discovered that there was a group of officers who had allegedly been coerced by AD to engage in sexual misconduct to get commendations or promotions. Handle stated that their stories tracked the events that were happening to him. He then realized the consequences of “not playing along.” Handle says that AD would make things so uncomfortable for officers that they were forced to come to him and engage in a relationship that usually involved alcohol and resulted in sexual misconduct. One of the messages AD allegedly sent read, “Oh boy Officer____ look at that bulge in your pants. I wish I had a bulge like that.” AD continued, “ Man, I wish I could see that bulge.” AD then allegedly sent a picture of his penis. Handle claims that AD wrote to an officer, ’Show me your cock, and I’ll write you a Guardian (commendation)”. Although the Police Chief was aware of sexual misconduct, he responded it was consensual, so nothing was done.

Nine Dunwoody officers were discovered in the sexting scandal. Four officers are suing, two were directly involved in the scandal, and two were not but were targeted. Allegedly described by AD as “the inner circle,” AD, who was in charge of hiring, would ask those in the inner circle if a police applicant was “attractive” enough to hire. Handle feels that officers who did not “pay to play” were targeted to harass, retaliated against, and fired to bring in someone else who would go along with a corrupted system. Handle was an individual who spoke his mind and did not need an excellent recommendation to continue a career in law enforcement. He had started a technical business with incredible potential and was therefore unconcerned about being fired, unlike others dependent on the salary.

Still, in April of 2020, he was informed that an investigation was occurring concerning “untruthfulness,” which resulted in termination on May 11, 2020. The matter he was allegedly “untruthful” about was a notice they put in his file after he was terminated. The complaint was from a neighbor of Handle’s who spoke of a white man speeding. When questioned about this compliant, they said they did not know if it was Handle but accused him anyway.

Handle signaled that he was prepared to go to a lawyer. Other Officers who hired lawyers to sue the Dunwoody Police Department came forward and were curious if Handle experienced the same actions and behaviors perpetrated on them from AD.

Handle firmly feels that people should pursue the “right system.” “People have taken the system and corrupted and twisted it in such a way that they can get away with whatever they want.” Handle was not going to let that happen, and he wears the title of whistleblower proudly. Other officers and people in his community who wanted to talk to him about sexual misconduct contacted him. Handle, not wishing his brothers and sisters working in law enforcement to be victimized, went on social media and blew the whistle.

Handle advised that he could only imagine what sexually abused citizens of Dunwoody would feel, knowing their Police Chief allegedly covered up sexual misconduct incidents. Handle is going to miss law enforcement, but he needs to, 1. maintain his wellbeing, 2. maintain the wellbeing of other officers, and 3. make sure the public “finds out about this whole thing.”

Like many other whistleblowers, Handle suffers from stress and anxiety, and has disturbing dreams, but has gotten therapy.

AD resigned and has nothing on his record that would prevent him from applying for another law enforcement job.

The City of Dunwoody denies Handle’s allegations.

Austin Handle is currently filming “Rogue Blue,” a short film about life after becoming a whistleblower. He hopes it will inspire others in law enforcement to speak out. Get updates about Handle via his TikTok and Instagram.

© 2020 Whistleblower Network News

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