Texas lieutenant governor calls to get relative out of jail
August 22nd, 2013
09:31 AM ET
9 years 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.

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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 doneā€¦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. NameUSAF

    Stupid is as stupid dose!!!!

    August 22, 2013 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
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