Texas lieutenant governor calls to get relative out of jail
August 22nd, 2013
09:31 AM ET
12 months ago

Texas lieutenant governor calls to get relative out of jail

(CNN) – Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst of Texas is coming under some fire after using his name and position as he sought the release of a relative accused of shoplifting, all the while arguing she was arrested on a "mistaken charge."

The Allen Police Department on Wednesday released audio of a phone call from the lieutenant governor that took place at 10:30 p.m. on August 3.

In the phone conversation, obtained by CNN affiliate WFAA in Dallas, the Republican asked how he can get his nephew's wife–who he says is "100% innocent"–out of jail.

"I want to talk to the most senior police officer you have where you are right now. My name is David Dewhurst, I'm the lieutenant governor of the state of Texas and you have incarcerated a- my sister-in-law," he said, though he also identified her as his step-sister's daughter-in-law.

Ellen Bevers, a 46-year-old school teacher, was arrested for allegedly stealing $57 worth of items from a grocery store. Dewhurst told a sergeant on the phone that he believes Bevers was checking out in an automatic line and the machine somehow didn't scan a bag of groceries, so it didn't go on her credit card.

"I've known this lady for 30 years of my life," Dewhurst said on the call. He added he's going to have a couple of top officials in the state call the police department to confirm Dewhurst's request.

"I would like to find out what I need to do to get her out of jail, post bond, whatever," he said, describing Bevers as the "sweetest woman in the world."

Dewhurst, who ran an unsuccessful bid for the U.S. Senate in the 2012 cycle, announced earlier this month he plans to run next year for re-election as lieutenant governor.

"I am, every year, the number one pick of all of the law enforcement agencies within Texas," he said on the call. "The number one pick. You don't know it, but I'm a supporter of you, and I'm a supporter of everybody in law enforcement."

"I want you to do whatever is the proper thing for this lady-who's not, I know in my heart, was not involved in an intentional walking-out and stealing $57," he added.

Repeatedly asking what he needs to do to get her out of jail as soon as possible, Dewhurst pledged to do "what's necessary to solve this."

The sergeant explained that due to the classification of Bever's charge, she will be transported to the Collin County Sheriff's Office. There, he continued, she'll be arraigned and bond will be set, and that's where someone can post bond for her.

Dewhurst insisted he didn't want to "circumvent anything" and wanted to "follow the law," but argued "this is ridiculous" and asked for the cell phone numbers of the sergeant's supervisor, the county judge, and the sheriff.

"What do I need to in order to- Who do I need to talk to in order to facilitate-not facilitate-but to provide the bond or whatever that's necessary?" he asked.

The sergeant refused to hand over the numbers and gave him the number for the county sheriff's office.

"I know you've got instructions, and I appreciate law enforcement. But this is one of those situations where I just hate to see," he said, referring to what he believed as her innocence.

As the sergeant began to sign off, Dewhurst stopped him.

"Woah, woah, woah, sergeant, woah. When I call Collin County–she hasn't been booked in over there. What in the world do you expect me to say to them?"

The sergeant said Dewhurst can ask them if they have a set posted amount.

"That way you can contact a bondsman and get the process started," he said.

"Alright," Dewhurst replied. He then gave the sergeant his own cell phone number and repeated his name and title for a second time. "I intend to jump into this and see what can be done…But I may not be able to do anything, alright? It's whatever the law says."

He then thanked the sergeant for his time.

A spokesman for the lieutenant governor told The Texas Tribune that Dewhurst was acting out of concerned and was not attempting to go above the law.

"David acted as a concerned family member in an attempt to acquire information on how to post bail for his niece while reiterating multiple times in the full conversation that law enforcement follow their normal protocols and procedures," said Travis Considine, the spokesman for Dewhurst.

Sgt. Jon Felty, a spokesman for Allen Police Department, defended the sergeant who took the phone call, telling WFAA that he handled it "professionally."

"He knew who he was talking to, obviously, and he didn't handle it any differently than he would have for any other citizen," Felty said.

But the lieutenant governor is already taking heat over the call.

"Lt. Gov. Dewhurst has shown that he thinks he is beyond the rules and laws that govern regular Texans," Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa said in a statement to WFAA. "He has further disrespected the office of the Lieutenant Governor."


Filed under: Texas
soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. Al-NY,NY

    A spokesman for the lieutenant governor told The Texas Tribune that Dewhurst was acting out of concerned and was not attempting to go above the law.
    ---------------

    Baloney....as soon as he pulled the "I'm so and so the Lt Gov of this backward state..." he was trying to circumvent the system and use his office for his own personal gain. Good for the law officers to deny him. I would have said something that I can't write in this forum to do. Of course if it was some other person, he'd push for harsher punishment to "teach them a lesson"

    August 22, 2013 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  2. Data Driven

    Ah yes, Pulling Rank. A fine American tradition!

    August 22, 2013 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  3. PJ

    This is the guy that Ted Cruz beat. A true case of the lesser of two evils, neither of which I voted for, or ever
    would. I heard that "tape", and wondered if maybe Dave had one two many lagers.

    August 22, 2013 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  4. Joe

    Outstanding job by the Allen PD! Yeah, Dewhurst wasn't trying to buck the process but he was certainly trying to throw is stature around to pressure the Allen PD officer into getting his (Dewhurst) way. Um.. That's called bullying I believe.... It's also called killing your political career... The way he handled the Windy Davis babble and now this. Even the Republicans are going to want him out.

    August 22, 2013 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  5. Lynda/Minnesota

    "I am, every year, the number one pick of all of the law enforcement agencies within Texas," he said on the call. "The number one pick. You don't know it, but I'm a supporter of you, and I'm a supporter of everybody in law enforcement."

    Ah, yes. Intimidation. I AM ... therefore ... I WANT.

    August 22, 2013 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  6. Marie MD

    Acting out of concern. How utterly sweet of him.
    Not trying to buck the system. Oh no. The fact that it's a relative doesn't come into play at all. Of course not. Has he ever tried this with another shoplifter not a family member?
    Rethugs are really full of themselves aren't they? Always doing then trying to spin out of the hole they created.
    This guy lost to the Canadian? Texans are out of their collective minds!!!

    August 22, 2013 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  7. tiffinS

    And let the virtriol and hate begin from the left. Your talking points for the day are below:

    1. Blah blah Texas
    2. Blah blah Bush
    3. Blah blah Teabags
    4. Blah blah Racism
    5. Blah blah Obstructionist Congress
    6. Blah blah Bush

    Ready....GO!

    So predictable and pathectic.

    August 22, 2013 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  8. Gurgyl

    Just replace this dude, simple.

    August 22, 2013 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  9. jinx9to88

    If all else has failed use the "Do you know who I am" line it always works for me. Not really but just sayin...

    August 22, 2013 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  10. jinx9to88

    Obama fault, she was stealing the groceries for him. Just like the 29% crazies in Louisiana that think the slow response for hurricane Katrina was Obama fault even though it happened a couple years before he was elected President.

    August 22, 2013 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  11. the hippies were right

    Typical Texas politician. FYI, in last years GOP debates, Rick Perry said "Obama's stimulis" had not created one job. What he didn't say was that he used stimulis money to rebuild his fire damaged governors mansion after public donations dwindled. These clowns are pathetic! But all is well by noon every Sunday!

    August 22, 2013 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  12. JUSTICE FOR CHRIS LANE

    This is another fluff article to try to deflect attention away from the race war that has been declared on Americans from young, black thugs. All of you screamed hysterically for "Justice For Trayvon". Well guess what? The light is being turned back on you and America is going to see who composes the crime wave that has infected America.

    August 22, 2013 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  13. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Just like the 29% crazies in Louisiana that think the slow response for hurricane Katrina was Obama fault even though it happened a couple years before he was elected President."

    Which begs the question: "Who is more ignorant ... those that hate Obama for being ... well, you know. Or those that word useless polls to bait those who hate Obama for being ... well, you know?"

    The aforementioned poll isn't worthy of our laughter. Our contempt, though? Absolutely.

    August 22, 2013 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  14. Rudy NYC

    Hmm. Let's see how this works itself out. I recall NY Gov. Paterson getting himself booted out of office because he, too, appreared to have used his influence as governor in a criminial matter to get someone close to him off the hook.

    August 22, 2013 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  15. Tony

    Another stupid Republican. Doesn't Dewhurst know Gov. Rick Perry? Go talk to Perry. Ask Perry to pardon his relative.

    August 22, 2013 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  16. Thomas

    Why didn't he call Rick Perry ?

    I think Texas will soon have a woman Governor .

    August 22, 2013 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  17. ThinkAgain

    Self-scanners are set up so that when you can an item, you have to put it on the scale, so it's gets cross-checked by the machine (if you ring up 1 apple, but put 3 in the bag, the machine knows there are 2 extra in the bag). This woman obviously didn't ring up all of the stuff she tried to leave the store with – which is stealing.

    BTW, knowing "in your heart" isn't considered proof in our judicial system. Using your influence to circumvent that system is also not kosher.

    Dewhurst is just another good ol' boy from Texas thinking he's above the law ...

    August 22, 2013 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  18. ghostwriter

    Say Justice.....last I looked, those who attack Mr. Lane were not released without being charged nor is there a large following of folks supporting them.

    If there is a race war, it was started by your kind back in Nov 2008. Fortunately for you, there aren't many losers like you left and you are losing more and more each day.

    August 22, 2013 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  19. S.B. Stein

    He should have stayed out it in the first place with the exception of asking about paying the bail. If I were the officer that took the call, I would have suggested that he come down in person to prove it.

    August 22, 2013 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  20. Rudy NYC

    JUSTICE FOR CHRIS LANE

    This is another fluff article to try to deflect attention away from the race war that has been declared on Americans from young, black thugs. All of you screamed hysterically for "Justice For Trayvon". Well guess what? The light is being turned back on you and America is going to see who composes the crime wave that has infected America.
    -------------
    Race war? You might be right, but your facts are completely backwards. I recall how it was folks like Palin and Bachmann going around the country saying, "He's not one of us," to wild cheers and applause. Furthermore, there was no one saying "Justice for Trayvon" back in 2008. You've really got your facts twisted.

    August 22, 2013 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  21. don in albuquerque

    How very Texas GOP of him.

    August 22, 2013 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  22. Malory Archer

    tiffinS
    And let the virtriol and hate begin from the left. Your talking points for the day are below:

    1. Blah blah Texas
    2. Blah blah Bush
    3. Blah blah Teabags
    4. Blah blah Racism
    5. Blah blah Obstructionist Congress
    6. Blah blah Bush

    Ready....GO!

    So predictable and pathectic.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Actually, I was expecting some serious right wing projection on this thread. Not quite sure what you're displaying though – some kind of Stockholm Syndrome disorder perhaps?

    August 22, 2013 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  23. Fair is Fair

    Lynda/Minnesota

    "Just like the 29% crazies in Louisiana that think the slow response for hurricane Katrina was Obama fault even though it happened a couple years before he was elected President."

    Which begs the question: "Who is more ignorant ... those that hate Obama for being ... well, you know. Or those that word useless polls to bait those who hate Obama for being ... well, you know?"

    The aforementioned poll isn't worthy of our laughter. Our contempt, though? Absolutely.
    -------
    Beg to differ with you, Lynda. I'd be willing to wager that the 29% who blame Obama re: Katrina are doing so out of sheer ignorance of the world around them. I'd also wager that if the same poll were taken, you'd wind up with 29% who believe that George Bush "steered" Katrina into NOLA using the Haliburton Hurricane Machine. The stupidity in this country is mind boggling and getting worse. Hate to be a Debbie Downer, but we're doomed.

    August 22, 2013 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  24. Malory Archer

    ghostwriter
    Say Justice.....last I looked, those who attack Mr. Lane were not released without being charged nor is there a large following of folks supporting them.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Not to mention, one of the three is white.

    August 22, 2013 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  25. wendel

    the great state of texas and its political machine. Lets keep the general population poor and ignorant and the privileged few wealthy and pious. I wish they would succeed .

    August 22, 2013 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
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