by Will Griggs
Chief Art Acedevo of the Austin Police Department is like a figure from Roman history – in one of the worst ways imaginable. To be specific, his view of the privileges of the coercive elite, and the deferential gratitude they’re supposedly owed by the plebian class, summon memories of Cicero’s description of the aspiring ruler Marcus Antonius. In fact, Acevedo’s dismissive comments about the unjustified arrest and abuse of a female jogger displayed a tyrannical insouciance that Antonius might have considered a bit excessive.
After Cicero delivered the first of fourteen philippics against Antonius in the Senate, the general invited public applause for the forbearance he displayed by allowing the orator to live. Cicero devoted a lengthy section of his second philippic to demolishing the would-be dictator’s pretense of magnanimity:
“That, senators, is what a favor from gangsters amounts to – they refrain from murdering someone, and then they boast of their kindness…. What sort of kindness is it, to have abstained from committing a horrible evil? To me, it doesn’t appear so much a favor as a burden, to know that it was within your power to do such a thing with impunity. But I grant that it was a favor, such no greater kindness can be expected from a robber.”
Like every other notable municipal police chief, Acevedo presides over a department that is notorious for committing acts of capricious violence against innocent people – and almost without exception he defends such crimes as suitable exercises of discretion by the punitive caste.
Women tend to be preferred targets in the ongoing APD crime wave. One suitable example was the case of Vanessa Price, who was unlawfully “detained” outside her home by Officer Jermaine Hopkins, and then brutally assaulted by him after she used her cell phone to call her husband for help. Hopkins then charged the victim – who had been observing a police encounter with an unruly house guest from a distance of roughly thirty feet — with “interference” and “resisting arrest.” The charges were dropped, and Hopkins – rather than being prosecuted for aggravated armed assault – was given a trivial suspension. Mrs. Price had to endure two months of expensive physical therapy to recover from the unprovoked attack.