It seems that David Dewhurst’s relative Ellen Bevers was arrested for (allegedly) shoplifting in a Kroger in Allen (a Metroplex suburb between Plano and McKinney). That’s not really news. It’s, at most, 3-line wire service filler everyone forgets about the next day.
It’s what happened next that was news.
Lt. Governor Dewhurst called the Allen police to lean on them to let her out of jail.
And, of course, the call was tape-recorded, and released:
Dew, Dew, Dew: A desire to help a relative out is a laudable impulse, but 800-pound gorillas personally throwing their weight around to intimidate police officers (even in the polite manner Dewhurst did) is an abuse of office and incredibly stupid to boot. This is not the way things are done, and I’m surprised the Lt. Governor of Texas hasn’t managed to figure that out after 68 years.
No, what you do is you make a phone call to the sharpest, best connected lawyer in that neck of the woods, one who probably owes you a favor or two anyway (since you’re the Lt. Freaking Governor), you ask him to take care of it, he calls the appropriate judge (the one he probably plays poker or golf with on alternate weekends), the judge calls the police chief (you know, the one whose wife is on the same charity board as the judge’s wife), the Kroger manager receives a call from his regional supervisor (who really doesn’t want a few store opening schedules to be hit with unforeseen permitting snags), and before you know it, it’s all a big misunderstanding, charges are dropped, and Ms. Beavers walks away with a story tell at her next PTA meeting about that silly mistake where she ended up spending a night in jail.
All clean, all quiet, no headlines, no fingerprints, no one gets their dander up, and a nice little state grant for extra training for the Allen police department shows up in the 2014-2015 budget.
This charging in like a bull elephant to throw his weight around is just pure mule-headed stupidity. (It also displays amazing naivete about how technology works in the 21st century. If you’re Joe Cop and the Lt. Governor calls you, of course you’re going to record the call, if only for your own protection. Hell, it may even be department policy to record all calls.)
Dewhurst should have known better.