The lawsuit claims that the officer’s wife called the police during an argument but later regretted it.
A Texas police detective and his wife have filed a lawsuit against the City of Austin, claiming a “do-not-contact” order has torn their family apart and forced the couple into perpetual separation.
According to Fox7Austin, the lawsuit was filed by Timothy and Andrea Hoppock in Travis County District Court late last week.
In their complaint, the Hoppocks state that they have an 11-year-old son and have been married for just over a decade.
The Hoppocks said they had occasional arguments, one of which occurred on January 28, 2022.
During the altercation, Andrea Hoppock called the police and requested assistance.
Now, the couple say that the call was “unnecessary and regrettable,” and that, “by the time [the Austin Police Department] reached out to them, the argument had been resolved.”
Despite the Hoppocks’ claims of a peaceful resolution, Detective Timothy Hoppock’s boss—Austin Police Chief Joseph Chacon—decided to issue a no-contact order against the officer.
The terms of the order, says Fox7Austin, mandate that Det. Hoppock have no contact with his wife “on or off duty.”
So long as the order is in place, Det. Hoppock cannot contact his wife, her employer, or any of her coworkers, relatives, or friends.
If and when Det. Hoppock wishes to meet his wife, he must obtain written permission.
“If you violate this order,” Chacon wrote, “you will be subject to discipline, up to and including indefinite suspension.”
While Det. Hoppock signed the order, the couple has since called it a “state-forced divorce.”
In their lawsuit, the Hoppocks allege that Chief Chacon and the Austin Police Department have violated their First Amendment rights, their rights to due process, their marriage, and ability to raise a child together.
The couple is requesting that a court void the no-contact order and award them attorneys fees and damages.
However, the City of Austin has defended the no-contact order. In a press release, officials explained that, whenever serious allegations are levied against law enforcement officers, an implicated officer cannot have any contact or communications with potential victims.
“Last week, an APD officer and his wife sued the City of Austin challenging an order issued by Chief Chacon in February 2022. The order requires that the police officer not contact the complainant, who also happens to be his wife, during the pendency of an APD internal affairs investigation, which is underway,” the city said. “The order and internal affairs investigation were prompted by the wife’s allegations and related complaints to law enforcement about her husband. The order is written in a way that allows the spouses to have ordinary, non-threatening communications with one another while the investigation is in progress. APD is responsible for protecting all of our community members. When allegations are made against our officers, they are investigated. To preserve the integrity of the investigatory process, including the safety of witnesses, we can and have directed officers not to contact complainants or others involved in the investigation.”