Art Acevedo, Austin’s former police chief, was harshly critical of his old hometown. In a June 2 video, the current Houston police chief targets Austin diversity and accuses residents of the city of inciting violence in Houston.
The footage was filmed in downtown Houston last night by national investigative reporter Mike Hixenbaugh of NBC News. In it, Acevedo is seen on a megaphone speaking to a group of people who have gathered to protest the police brutality and the death of George Floyd.
Acevedo makes the comments while protesters audibly urge the boss to post a video of six people recently shot by Houston police.
“I beg you [Houston] is the most diverse city in the United States. This is not Austin, Texas where they are diverse as long as they are on the east side of 35, “said the police chief.” This is Houston, Texas. And for the folks of Austin who come out here wanting to rip shit up, you’re in the wrong damn town. “
A Houston Police Department information officer was unable to provide additional context for the chief’s comments. CultureMap is sending a request for open records for demographic details of the arrests made in Houston.
The video series doesn’t show Acevedo getting the megaphone, but he does use it to take another shot in Austin. “I know Austin people yell at me and Austin things, but I’m here to tell you you’re not in Austin,” says Acevedo. “You’re in Houston. You’re in H-Town.”
“One of the things I know is that I’ve been coming here all my life,” he continues. “We can fight, we can be mad at each other, but we know that if all these damn outside people come here and try to tear this shit up while the rest of the country is on fire. Nothing burns in Houston.”
“Don’t let anyone kidnap this movement,” he added later.
Austin police said Chief Brian Manley was not immediately available for comment.
Acevedo served as the chief of police in Austin for nine years before starting the top job in Houston in 2016. He grew up in California, according to his HPD bio, and began his law enforcement career in 1986 with the California Highway Patrol.