Saturday, February 11, 2012

Me, APD, and 'Babysitting While White,' Part Deux

A few years back Grits posed the question, "Is babysitting while white reasonable suspicion for police questioning?" after my granddaughter and I were detained and questioned at length in my neighborhood on suspicion of some nefarious deed (it was never quite clear what). In that incident, the police were pretty clear I was stopped solely because Ty, like her mother (who came to live with my wife and me when she was a child) is black, while I'm an almost stereotypical looking white Texas redneck. At the time, Grits was amazed that three squad cars were dispatched to question me for walking down the street with a child of a different race, detaining me for no good reason and scaring the bejeezus out of then-two-year old Ty.

Last night, though, Ty and I got the full jump-out-boys treatment, making our earlier interaction with Austin PD seem downright quaint. It could only have been more ridiculous if they'd actually arrested me, which for a while there didn't seem out of the question. (This is a personal tale much more than a policy analysis, so if you're only interested in the latter, don't bother to read further.)

Our story began at the Millennium Youth Center in central east Austin, which is a city-owned rec center just a few blocks from my home of 22 years. Ty, age 5, often spends the night with us on Fridays to give Mom and Dad a night off, and we'd taken her there to go roller skating after dinner out as a reward for a week's worth of excellent behavior scores in kindergarten.

Perhaps at 7:40 p.m. or so, after she'd had her fill of skating (if the event were put to music, the appropriate theme song would have been "Slip Slidin' Away"), I asked Ty if she'd like to walk home and let Grandma take the car. It was cool but pleasant out, and we were just a short distance from the house, with a city-bike path where we often walk dogs together taking us most of the way there. She was elated: This sounded like a big adventure, and within moments she was bouncing off the walls with excitement, making me think a walk home was just the thing to burn off some energy before bed time.

This was a terrible mistake on Grandpa's part. Not because we live in a relatively rough neighborhood. I know many of my neighbors, saints and scoundrels alike, and I did not and do not fear becoming a crime victim walking that route, even with a five year old in tow. No, apparently the only folks Ty and I had to fear were in uniform.

Our interaction with law enforcement began after we left the Millennium Center on foot, with the giddy five year old racing ahead and me trotting along behind admonishing her to stay out of the parking lot and stop when she gets to the sidewalk, don't run into the street, etc.. She was in a good mood, obeyed, and we held hands crossing the street and as we walked down the bike path toward Boggy Creek and back home.

Then behind us I heard someone call out, though I couldn't make out what was said. We stopped to look back, and there was a dark silhouette crossing the street who Ty thought was calling out to us. We waited, but then the silhouetted figure stopped, crouched down for a moment, then took a few steps back toward the rec center, appearing to speak to someone there. I shrugged it off and we walked on, but in a moment the figure began walking down the path toward us again, calling out when she was about 150 feet away. We stopped and waited. It was a brown-suited deputy constable, apparently out of breath from the short walk.

She told me to take my hand out of my pocket and to step away from Ty, declaring that someone had seen a white man chasing a black girl and reported a possible kidnapping. Then she began asking the five-year old about me. The last time this happened, Ty was barely two, and I wasn't about to let police question her. This time, though, at least initially, I decided to let her answer. "Do you know this man?" the deputy asked. "Yes," Ty mumbled shyly, "he's my Grandpa." The deputy couldn't understand her (though I did) and moved closer, hovering over the child slightly, repeating the question. Ty mumbled the same response, this time louder, but muffled through a burgeoning sob that threatened to break out in lieu of an answer.

The deputy still didn't understand her: "What did you say?" she repeated. "He's my Grandpa!," Ty finally blurted, sharply and clearly, then rushed back over to me and grabbed hold of my leg. "Okay," said the deputy, relaxing, acknowledging the child probably wasn't being held against her will. (As we were talking, a car pulled up behind her on the bike path with its brights on - I couldn't tell what agency it was with) Then she pulled out her pad and paper and asked "Can I get your name, sir, just for my report?" I told her I'd prefer not to answer any questions and would like to leave, if we were free to go, so I could get the child to bed. She looked skeptical but nodded and Ty and I turned tail and walked toward home.

Ty was angrier about this, even, than I was. "Why is it," she demanded a few steps down the path, stomping her feet and swinging her little arms as she said it, "that the police won't ever believe you're my Grandpa?" (Our earlier run in had clearly made an impression, though she hadn't mentioned it in ages.) "Why do you think it is?," I asked, hoping to fend her off with the Socratic method. She paused, then said sheepishly, "Because you're white?" I grinned at her and said, "That's part of it, for sure. But we don't care about that, do we?" "No," she said sternly as we walked across the bridge spanning Boggy Creek just south of 12th Street, "but the police should leave you alone. It's not right that they want to arrest you for being my Grandpa." More prescient words were never spoken.

Just as Ty uttered those words, I made her hold my hand so we could trot across 12th Street amidst the sporadic, Friday night traffic, waiting for a police car to pass before heading across just west of the railroad tracks. Literally my intentions were - the moment we made it safely across the street - to resume our conversation to explain to Ty that nobody wanted to arrest me for being her Grandpa, that that wasn't against the law, and that the deputy had only stopped us to make sure Ty was safe. But we never got a chance to have that conversation.

As soon as we crossed the street, just two blocks from my house as the crow flies, the police car that just passed us hit its lights and wheeled around, with five others appearing almost immediately, all with lights flashing. The officers got out with tasers drawn demanding I raise my hands and step away from the child. I complied, and they roughly cuffed me, jerking my arms up behind me needlessly. Meanwhile, Ty edged up the hill away from the officers, crying. One of them called out in a comforting tone that they weren't there to hurt her, but another officer blew up any good will that might have garnered by brusquely snatching her up and scuttling her off to the back seat of one of the police cars. (By this time more cars had joined them; they maxxed out at 9 or 10 police vehicles.)

I gave them the phone numbers they needed to confirm who Ty was and that she was supposed to be with me (and not in the back of their police car), but for quite a while nobody seemed too interested in verifying my "story." One officer wanted to lecture me endlessly about how they were just doing their job, as if the innocent person handcuffed on the side of the road cares about such excuses. I asked why he hadn't made any calls yet, and he interrupted his lecture to say "we've only been here two minutes, give us time" (actually it'd been longer than that). "Maybe so," I replied, sitting on the concrete in handcuffs, "but there are nine of y'all milling about doing nothing by my count so between you you've had 18 minutes for somebody to get on the damn phone by now so y'all can figure out you screwed up." Admittedly, this did not go over well. I could tell I was too pissed off to say anything constructive and silently vowed to keep mum from then on.

As all this was happening, the deputy constable who'd questioned us before walked up to the scene and began conversing with some of the officers. She kept looking over at me nervously as I stood 20 feet or so away in handcuffs, averting her gaze whenever our eyes risked meeting. It seemed pretty clear she was the one who called in the cavalry, and it was equally clear she understood she was in the wrong.

A supervisor arrived and began floating around among the milling officers (I have no idea what function most of those cops thought they were fulfilling). Finally, she sidled up to repeat the same lecture I'd heard from the young pup officer who'd handcuffed me: "When we get a call about a possible kidnapping we have to take it very seriously," etc., etc.. By this time, though, I'd lost patience with that schtick. Interrupting her repetitive monologue, I explained that I could care less how they justified what they were doing, and could they please stop explaining themselves, focus on their jobs, and get this over with as soon as possible so Ty and I could go home? She paused as though she wanted to argue, then her shoulders slumped a bit, she half-smiled and replied "Fair enough!," wheeling around and issuing inaudible directions to some of the milling officers, all of whom appeared to continue doing nothing, just as before. Not long after that they released us.

Ty told me later that back in the police car she'd been questioned, not just about me but about her personal life, or as she put it, "all my business": They asked about her school, what she'd been doing that evening, to name all the people in her family, and pressed her to say if I or anyone else had done anything to her. Ty was frustrated, she said later, that they kept repeating the same questions, apparently hoping for different answers. She didn't understand why, after she'd told them who I was, the police didn't just let me go. And when it became clear they wouldn't take her word for it, she began to fear the police would take me away and leave her alone with all those scary cops. (I must admit, for a moment there I felt the same way!) On the upside, said Ty, when they were through questioning her one of the officers let her play with his flashlight, which she considered a high point. Don't you miss life being that simple?

Part of the answer, of course, to Ty's Very Good Question about why I wasn't released when she confirmed my identity is that I was in handcuffs and she was in police custody before anybody asked anyone anything. "Seize first and ask questions later" is better than "shoot first," I suppose, but it's problematic for the same reasons. I found out later police had told my wife and Ty's mom that I'd refused to let them question the child - a patent lie since they'd whisked her away into the back of a police car while I was handcuffed. I wasn't in a position to refuse anything at that point.

How hard would it have been to perform a safety check without running up on me like I'm John Dillinger and scaring the crap out of a five year old? I didn't resist or struggle, but they felt obliged to handcuff me and snatch the kid up for interrogation away from any adult family member. Nine police cars plus the deputy constable all showing up to investigate the heinous crime of "babysitting while white."

Moreover, there was no apology to be had at the end of this charade, to me or to Ty. They interrogated the child but no one tried to comfort her beyond handing her a flashlight to play with. And when it was over, not one of those officers, the supervisor included, thought to take a moment to try to explain to the child what had happened, why they'd behaved that way toward her family, or why they'd treated her grandpa like a criminal. They just opened up the door to the squad car as the cuffs were coming off me and Ty came running back and lept into my arms with such force it almost knocked me down.

After the cuffs were off, I said nothing to the APD cops as I carried the child away toward home. But I did pause when I passed the deputy constable - who still could barely look me in the eye - to say aloud to her, "You knew better. This is on you."

Ty was understandably shaken by the incident, and as we walked home she told me all about her interactions with the officers and peppered me with questions about why this, that, everything happened. She said she tried to be brave because she knew I'd get into trouble if the police didn't believe her (she was right about that!) and she was especially scared when she thought they weren't going to accept her word for it. Poor kid.

As we turned onto the last block home, two of the police cars that had detained us passed by and Ty visibly winced with fear, lunging toward me and wrapping her arms around my leg. I petted and tried to comfort her, but she was pretty disturbed and confused by the whole episode. Luckily, it also left her exhausted so she was out like a light soon after we got home, half an hour past her bedtime. This morning she stated bluntly that she had decided not to think about it - a practice my wife encourages when bad things happen - and it seems to be working. She's her normal happy self, though at the park this afternoon she wanted to pretend we were hiding from kidnappers. But I hated for a five-year old to be subjected to such an experience. I'd like her to view police as people she can trust instead of threats to her and her family, but it's possible I live in the wrong neighborhood for that.

UPDATE/CORRECTIONS (2/17): Yesterday afternoon I had the opportunity to review the documentation, video, audio and police reports related to this incident in Art Acevedo's office and heard his pitch why this blog post was unfair. There are really only two corrections I'd make having now seen the videos and other documentation Chief Acevedo showed me yesterday. (I'm probably going to write about it again over the weekend.) First, I recollected in the blog post that an officer had a taser drawn and from the video the officer's arm was only crooked and prepared to draw. It happened in a flash and like many eyewitnesses, when under a perceived threat, my mind filled in some pieces erroneously, I'll be the first to admit in light of the video evidence. It was not an intentional error. That said, I correctly perceived that all of a sudden a LOT of cops were on us out of nowhere and if I'd made any sudden or untoward moves I'd be tazed or worse. I think it wasn't unreasonable for either of us to feel threatened by them rolling up on us like that.

The other error was that the original post cast unfair blame on the deputy constable. Her report said that after we'd spoken, she was heading back to the Millenium Center thinking the incident was over when the dispatcher patched into the constable's frequency because they'd heard from the Millenium Center she'd gone after us. In the dispatcher's audio, she tells APD just before they roll up on us that she'd spoken to us, gave them Ty's name and told them I was her grandpa. Though I blamed her (unfairly) both at the scene and in the initial post, falsely thinking she'd called in the cavalry, she did not. In fact, in the scheme of things she got it right. Basically two departments with overlapping jurisdictions responded to this complaint: One came at us based on a community policing approach where she walked up calmly, asked a few questions, and according to her report was satisfied and had begun to return to her shift until she heard on the radio APD was coming. By contrast, APD handcuffed first and asked questions later. That's the big difference between the two departments' approaches.

AND MORE: See a followup post here.

484 comments:

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Anonymous said...

that's so messed up. i'm sorry for your experience, and more sorry that your grandchild had to be part of it.

TSC said...

One of the reasons I am glad that I moved away from Austin and Texas in general. Let your granddaughter know that there are places in this country where the police aren't so over zealous and close minded.

Anonymous said...

Since we're evidently dealing with multiple agencies here (Travis County Constable and Austin P.D.), I do wonder what, if any, communication there was between the original deputy constable and the Austin Police who evidently arrived later. Was the deputy providing security at the rec center? Do we know whether (and how many) calls were made to 911 and which agencies the dispatcher(s) communicated with? Is there any indication that the A.P.D. officers had any prior knowledge of the first encounter with the deputy constable or whether there was any communication between them before she arrived at the location of the second encounter? Without knowing the exact nature of the original report and whether there was any communication between the officers and agencies, it's kind of hard to judge the propriety of anyone's conduct. That said, it's very likely that any 911 call was recorded along with any dispatch communications and logs. In addition, chances are that there are at least portions of the officers' dash mounted video and audio recordings from the scene. Given the nature of the comments and controversy on this blog, I'd be willing to bet that someone in the L.E. hierarchy is already preserving these items. At some point this information will be available to the public and it will be interesting to see what it shows.

Sam474 said...

I don't understand other peoples interactions with police.

I'm 6'5", an intimidating build (think your average fat linebacker), bearded, and white. My niece is 5 and black and since she was 3 I've regularly been alone with her doing things like going to the store, to the park, driving around. She's also "very energetic" (they'll probably label her hyper when she gets out of kindergarten and into real school) and she throws tantrums when she gets tired and I've had to get on to her for that. She has also refused to come when ask to and even once actively run from me toward a parking lot and forced me to chase her down.

We live in North Texas.

No one has ever bothered us, no one has ever questioned me or treated us weird, police have never stopped me or even looked at me weird that I noticed, when I was with her.

I've been stopped by the police plenty of times in my life, in my car, walking down the street, etc. Usually for no reason and while I guess I could have gotten all indignant and made a big deal of things and been angry, I've always just handed them my ID, said yes sir and no sir, and been about my business a few minutes later.

I've met a few dick cops but nothing severe (I've actually had MUCH worse experiences with DISPATCHERS than with cops) and I've never been cuffed that I didn't deserve. I know there are bad cops, shit the Tony Bologna thing pissed me off so bad I was railing about how he should get a good beating for it, but in a day to day sense I just don't understand why people get these attitudes with cops.

If a person sees someone chasing my niece and calls the cops I HOPE TO ALL HELL that the cops show up and ask that person for some ID and ask my niece if she knows him. I'm not going to get angry and act like a dick and tell them how "I don't care how you justify your behavior!" I damn sure care if the justification is "Someone said you were chasing her and that she appeared scared". I want people and cops looking out for her, I want the cops to show up any time someone sees a man chasing a little girl.

The cops are shitty and worthless when some kid gets taken and raped and they can't catch the guy, but if they stop and question a man chasing a little girl of a different race and inconvenience him for 5 minutes then they're fascist pigs.

Anonymous said...

I'm terribly sorry that this happened to you, but can you imagine if you were black and she was white? This has been happening for far too long to certain demographics, and I hope you can use your bad experience to help enact some change.

Jim Howard said...

Sadly, you'll probably vote for candidates who will make the government even more powerful than it already is, and then you'll wonder why the Frankenstein you voted for turns on you.

Marina said...

My dad is obviously Mexican, and I look very white. I remember quite a few well intentioned strangers trying to 'rescue' me from my own father when I was a kid. They would always get offended when I wouldn't interact with them. Child logic is simple: you're a stranger, this is my dad. I'm not supposed to talk to strangers, leave me alone.

Calladus said...

No matter what else those cops did that day, they ensured that your granddaughter will think long and hard before coming to the police for help.

Anonymous said...

I'm still trying to reconcile 9 cops and deputy for you and one cop doing a drive by for Esme Barrera. Am I missing something critical?

Anonymous said...

The mention was made that the full-force reaction of law enforcement was related to the area in which you live. I happen to live in a very nice area in a different community and believe me, the same thing happens in better parts of town.

A relatively minor thing will bring 4-6 cars and officers and although everything is obviously under control, it can also require upwards of 2 hours of standing around, apparently no more than chatting about it (or whatever else) on the part of all those officers.

Meanwhile, in another part of town where drug dealing is rampant, there is no police presence. I hear this from those who venture there to obtain their goods and they consider it to be a joke and related to the obvious danger involved.

I suppose law enforcement is frustrating in that many crimes are committed which are never solved and the draw of enormous police force to a scene has to do with the fact a perpetrator/suspect has been caught. It is probably human nature to derive a sense of fulfillment and achievement and they all want to participate, but it defies common sense if you ask me.

In this community, the unsupervised, drug-infested area happens to be adjacent to the campus of a Christian university. A recent tragedy, in which a freshman student was found in the back seat of his burning Cadillac will most likely be related in some way to the thriving character of that area.

Although not as exciting and satisfying, there is much to be said about crime prevention and setting priorities. Can't the people at the top of these organizations understand this and alter the game plan?

Anonymous said...

Well, I don't think it's just about race or neighborhood. It's about Austin police! I am retired and have just recently moved here and have experienced seeing my 30-something neighbor being arrested and handcuffed before the police verified that the truck and trailer parked in front of his house was his and not the items stolen from a "nearby" shop!!
I didn't count the multiple police cars as my attention was diverted to a police woman walking around with an assalt rifle!! I LIVE IN ALLENDALE!! Neighborhood??? don't think so. RACE??? all involved were white!
My advice to newcomers: stay away from the Austin police. They are live wires and not altogether trustworthy!!
Thanks Scott, for sharing your story!!
from P

Anonymous said...

I think a reasoned comment must be made. First, let's assume that not all cops are corrupt, despite what a vocal but misguided minority of the public thinks (seriously, its like they watched the x files way too much) . The vast majority of cops work hard in a dangerous line of work. Looking at the issues here, no party committed a criminal or civil infraction. Talking to the grand daughter without a parent present was justified given the exigency of the situation. Now, Grits has a valid concern about race possibky playing a motivating factor, but lets look at who made this an issue. The.police were responding to a call placed by the staff at the rec center he was coming from! They made it an issue, not the police. Given the info the cops had to work with, the situation had to be investigated. For those possesing an unhealthy paranoia, I'm sure the text and information given to the call taker is public record and can be requested as such.

Anonymous said...

Leave it alone, they could have charged you with failure to identify...

Anonymous said...

I agree that Babysitting While Male could just as easily be the cause of this terrible encounter. I belong to a babysitting co-op. (Parents earn and use points babysitting friends' kids and having friends babysit.) In researching how to set up our group, we looked at other groups' bylaws. Some of them specifically prohibited fathers from babysitting. Not just any man, but the fathers of other kids in the group--they couldn't be trusted to babysit because they were men. Crazy!

Anonymous said...

Scott, the claim that someone phoned in a report of a screaming child being dragged away by a man a chased by employees of the events center is fascinating. Presumably, the cops, while harassing you, also went to the events center to question the employees about what they knew and what they saw (since presumably the "real" kidnapping was still out there). However, I suspect if you go back and talk to the events center employees, you'll find that the cops never bothered to talk to them. That fact alone will prove that the whole "someone reported...employees chasing him" story is complete faabrication, and that no such call was ever made.

Anonymous said...

Wow I'm so happy to hear that you have such a beautiful granddaughter. And so sorry that you and she were treated like that. Bless you both.

A Texan said...

You have the right to a lawsuit, and next time that happens, you also have a right to kill those officers. Arm yourself and do it, this has been ruled your right to do by multiple courts, as this is false arrest and you are justified in taking an officer's life to resist a false arrest.

Anonymous said...

A Texan is not just an idiot, but a dangerous idiot. You can NOT take the life of a cop in order to prevent what you see as a false arrest or detainment. Multiple case law, from State to Circuit/Federal to Supreme, have ALL said that a citizen must submit to the arrest or detainment and later prove their case for it being false in criminal or civil court. You can only resist an arrest if both you AND THE COPS know it to be illegal. This Texan guy is going to get himself killed, or some poor guy who listens to him.

The Comedian said...

OK, so can we now please stop referring to Austin as "liberal"? Unless "liberal" is now a synonym for Gestapo tactics.

Anonymous said...

As sad as it is to say, as a young black woman, the police are generally not her friend. It's a lesson she should learn young, and it looks like the local PD has stepped up to teach that lesson for you. Sorry you had to go through this, but we live in a police state, and it's only getting worse.

Anonymous said...

Ah yes, Austin. The liberal cesspool in an otherwise fine state. No surprise that the cops there are incompetent.

Anonymous said...

I have said for years that Americans will rise up against a tyrannical police force once they have tired of the BS. And from the comments posted here I know it's true. I predict a mass wave of violence within the next five years that there will be an overwhelming amount of cops retiring or resigning. God, I can't wait until it begins!

Anonymous said...

I hate to disappoint your jaded view, but being hand offed is not the definition of an arrest. As a law enforcement officer, I do not agree with the way this situation was handled, at all. However, you need to read the US Supreme Court Case of Terry v. Ohio in which the Supreme Court clearly defines a detention v. an arrest. Just because handcuffs are used does not make it an arrest.

Anonymous said...

Maybe those cops thought you were a fellow molester who they could have join them in their pursuit of child sex crimes. After all, more police officers are convicted of child sex crimes than all other professions combined: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Tribute-to-survivors-of-child-sexual-assault-by-law-enforcement-officers/180584842010594?sk=wall

Darkman said...

Thank you for posting such an inspiring story. Thank you for being a Grandpa for Ty and a father figure for her mother, if I understand your 2008 post (she came to live with you).
You need to be brave to be in the south and act like you do, especially when you qualify yourself as a "redneck"...

There are plenty silly comments here (except the compassionate ones) that fell to understand that you exercise your simple right to not give information that was not needed. Police didn't need to escalate because of that.

People like GROVENSTEIN are the reason why a young guy got killed in his appartment in NY by cops without warrant (search Ramarley Graham). They are the same who enrolled in the GESTAPO and performed very well, chasing everybody then. I'm happy this one is retired.

Give us some follow up once in a while, and news about how Ty (and her mother) cope with.

Rhett said...

Wow. I'm so sorry you and your granddaughter had to go through that.

I agree with people talking about filing an offical/formal complaint.

I think people forget that people in families aren't always the same colour - I have a friend who married a black guy (she's as white as they come) and her daughter looks NOTHING like her... doesn't make that little girl any less her daughter, or her parents granddaughter.

Hopefully they learn from this and don't do it again!

Anonymous said...

Thank You so much for sharing this with us, breaks my heart to realize what is done to people all across this great state in the name of officer safety. The lack of apology or a kind word to your grandaughter is so very sad.

Phelps said...

Terry does NOT hold a distinction between detention and arrest. In fact, they explicitly reject it:

"The danger in the logic which proceeds upon distinctions between a "stop" and an "arrest," or "seizure" of the person, and between a "frisk" and a "search," is twofold. It seeks to isolate from constitutional scrutiny the initial stages of the contact between the policeman and the citizen. And, by suggesting a rigid all-or-nothing model of justification and regulation under the Amendment, it obscures the utility of limitations upon the scope, as well as the initiation, of police action as a means of constitutional regulation."

They simply hold that an limited arrest to search for weapons for officer safety doesn't invoke the exclusionary rule. They are very careful not to say that the practice itself is acceptable, just that evidence from that sort of arrest can't be thrown out for lacking probable cause.

David Rogers said...

This is just incredibly appalling. If we had a real police chief, heads would roll.

As it is, everyone involved will probably get a medal.

carl87gt said...

What a shame for such an incident to happen. We think were are doing well teaching our children to love people of all races - aren't the police supposed to be helping with this? Shared this page on facebook; give your little princess an extra hug tonight.

Anonymous said...

The call came from a citizen at the center. If the constable would have called the police he would have called from his radio. he would have also kept the man there until backup arrived instead of letting him continue walking home. If would have been a kidnapping and the officer just ignored the citizens report this blog would be longer or would it even be here.

Anonymous said...

I live in Austin. Why was this not reported on the news!!!!!????!!!! APD was obviously racial profiling.

WillowTheWhisp said...

What an awful experience. What an ordeal for you and your granddaughter. You should have at the very least had a formal apology and acknowledgement that they were absolutely totally and utterly wrong.

Anonymous said...

Well.....this is Texas right? Red neck capital of the world!
Poor baby! Have to learn the truth so harshly about ignorant Texas lawman.
Yeah those ignorant shxt kickers don't much care how Texas looks to the rest of the world.
The plus side is she has a good grandpa to teach her not all white folks are alike.
I was born in Texas in 1953 and soon made my exit but it's sad to see Texas law men still have a brain the size of locust.

Anonymous said...


I damn sure care if the justification is "Someone said you were chasing her and that she appeared scared". I want people and cops looking out for her, I want the cops to show up any time someone sees a man chasing a little girl.


I don't think there are enough police to go about stopping and handcuffing every adult that is chasing down an unruly child.
Americans are going to go broke trying to finance the amount of police needed for their paranoia. I guess you could save some money by having everybody under automated camera surveillance 24x7, for their own protection of course.

Unknown said...

It's very fortunate that Ty stuck to the truth rather than telling the Police what she thought they might like to hear after she was asked the same questions repeatedly. Children older than her have been known to change their answers to try to assuage a tense moment by placating their interrogators.

It is shameful that this sort of thing happens in our society. We must respond like animals to any call is not a justification for this behaviour.

testerz123456 said...

The Austin Cut had a cool article about how fucked up APD deployment is:
http://austincut.com/article/02052012/attacking-austin

Anonymous said...

Sue them

Anonymous said...

There are many out there who have been unfairly processed. Consider signing for a mother in need: http://www.change.org/petitions/governor-andrew-cuomo-grant-clemency-for-eugenia-pedraza

Anonymous said...

N.W.A has a great song for this... FUCK THE POLICE

Anonymous said...

Outrageous. I hope this gets into the local paper and that is accompanied by a lawsuit.

Nat-Wu said...

That's a terrible thing for a child to experience. I wouldn't have expected it as much in Austin.

Anonymous said...

She's not biologically your granddaughter.

So you are lying about her relation to you.

And it is obvious from the photo. If she was 1/4 white probability says that she may have lighter skin.

So the police acted correctly based upon all available evidence, compounded by the fact you did not show any I.D., Give a Name, or Show a Photo.

You imply that anyone who looks at you and your black "granddaughter" askew is a racist and a bad person. But skin color is a basic indication of "What tribe you belong to" "Who your family is" "What your paternity is"

It's not humanities problem if some whites decide to have children who do not resemble the white parents. We're animals a step above the apes, not DNA test/mind-readers.

I also feel like you are playing with semantics with the word 'granddaughter' because it makes you feel more progressive and multicultural. If a cop is asking a Biological Reference for Identification Purposes...then you must tell the cop 'she is the daughter of my Adopted Daughter' to avoid Exactly What Happened.

Anonymous said...

What a horrible experience. I, myself, have mixed relations.

However, I must urge you to teach Ty NOT to trust the police, as they are not trustworthy. More police officers abuse children than you know, and Florida just did an investigation and conformation that most speeders are the police.

Please, I beg of you, go to flexyourrights.com and teach her to not trust them.

Cecilia said...

I have also been the recipient of UNWARRANTED arrogant law enforcement abuses. I didn't pursue it and I've regretted it many times over. A civil rights case is certainly warranted and I urge you to give it some good thought. Even though they didn't arrest you, everything that happened is documented in your file. It will be accessed and read every time you get pulled over for even a minor traffic infraction. I am vehemently opposed to law suits that are unnecessary but I don't feel that is the case here...best of luck to you.

Anonymous said...

Hi Scott,

I'd love to hear that you've made a formal complaint and regained some justice for this unfortunate event.

I hope you and Ty are well and this never happens to you again.

She's a brave girl with what sounds like a wonderful grandpa.

-Ck

Phelps said...

It is amusing to me that virtually all of the people claiming you should have kowtowed and given them your name... Are commenting anonymously.

A Texas PO said...

I started reading some of these comments, and for my own sanity, I had to stop. Scott, my sympathy goes out to you and Ty. I am the interracial product of an interracial marriage, and the asinine and racist comments that have been posted here just go to show that, even though we've come a long way with race relations, we have a much longer road to travel.

I work in criminal justice and try to see the positive side of what happens in this field, but this seems like a complete lack of common sense, due diligence, and supervisory oversight. I've never met you, but I'm sure you're not The Hulk, so why were so many APD resources expended on you? On a Friday night, no less. In AUSTIN! Chief Acevedo needs to rein in these yahoos. How many domestic assaults, burglaries, robberies, DWIs, and life-threatening emergencies went unanswered while these guys were high-fiving themselves for taking down a creepy looking white guy on the East side?

I certainly hope that Ty grows to learn that most cops aren't dangerous and don't act like idiots. My interracial family is praying for y'all.

Anonymous said...

The cops are just doing their job. They have to investigate all 911 calls. You weren't cooperative so it took longer than it needed to to verify the facts. I never have a problem if an officer or security guard asks me a question. I often go out late at night for walks, and get stopped regularly by cops. I guess they are on the look-out for burglars or whatever. I answer all their questions and I give them all the information they need and I'm quickly on my way again. For me that just shows me that the system, which is there for my protection too, works .....

CarlS said...

"It was the citizen who called in a . . ."

Doesn't matter. If I accuse you of being a murderer, the police have neither the right nor lawful authority to arrest you, or even "detain" you for questioning until they have first validated the complaint.

The same holds true for a complaint of kidnapping.

They may assume the right and authority, but that does not make it lawful. And there is nothing, nothing, in the Patriot ACt to change that underlying rule.

LASunsett said...

//I see a large amount of idiocy and ignorance being posted here.//

No, what you see is a growing sector of the population becoming more distrustful of police officers who have empowered themselves to lord over the people they were hired to serve. While there is a good point that can be made about exercising caution in these kinds of cases, this is the very kind of thing that makes people not trust law enforcement.

Every time something like this occurs, it gets harder to teach kids to put their faith and confidence in those that lay their lives on the line everyday, for the public. How can someone explain to a kid that the police are their friends, when they see cases of unprofessional behaviors like we read about almost everyday now?

I realize that not all officers are corrupt punks like some are, not all are content to hide behind their badges as they go on power trips because they weren't in the popular cliques in school. But the handful that are this way are a cancer on the majority of the fine men and women that are not of this sort. And it's the corrupt police unions that protect the punks who bring shame on them all.

Don't blame these people for being a bit disillusioned with the way this case was handled. How hard would it have been to apologize and and it that you made a mistake, once in awhile?

If you are an officer and reading this story, maybe you should look in the mirror and do some serious soul searching and try to discover if you are in this profession for the right reasons, or if you just like having authority. Take a moment and reflect on your own motives and judgments, instead of trying to BS your way through this one.

Anonymous said...

I think you should request of copy of the police report or 911 call reporting the abduction of a black girl by a white man. I want to know if the police acted on their own accord or were following up on a legitimate report.

Anonymous said...

There are reasons to sue besides seeking monetary damages. Civil suit can obtain injunctive relief, including requiring mandatory education on citizen's rights. They can conduct an "investagatory detention" on less than probable cause, but they must have reasonable articulable suspicion that a crime has or will be committed. Empahsis on the word "reasonable". And they can only use handcuffs If they have a reason to believe the person is either armed and dangerious or presents a threat to the officer's safety. They may not legally cuff someone simply to achieve "control" of the individual who is simply exercising their constitutional right to refuse to cooperate and go on about their business. Nothing related here would justify their conduct.

Sue them. Don't seek monetary damages, rather seek institutional changes. And remember how a black man with a white child would have been treated. If you let this slide, you invite a repeat, probably with an even worse outcome.

Anonymous said...

I don't think it would be horribly difficult to find a pro-bono lawyer through the NAACP that would love to take your case for emotional trauma to a child, if things truly panned out as they did. If this happened anytime recently I don't see why there wouldn't be any camera recordings of the incident off of the dash cams.

If you want shit like this to change, you have a RESPONSIBILITY to bring this to court. Otherwise, all of this means NOTHING.

Catonya said...

Oh Scott, I'm so sorry this happened to you and your grand-baby - again even.

The scariest part to me was that they called in so many officers. The more officers present the greater the chance there's a hothead in the mix - and one twitchy ego maniac is all it takes for a situation like that to explode and get somebody killed. It happens so much more often than most citizens are willing to acknowledge or accept.

I'm so glad you and your grand-daughter made it home safely. The APD owes you both a very long and loud apology for their actions - though I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for it.

Peace to you and yours.
Cat

Anonymous said...

Jesus man. I don't know what I'd do if police wanted to separate me and my daughter like that.

Anonymous said...

Do you have ANY proof of this happening? I somehow doubt it, you're just a fucking lying troll that takes away attention from REAL race issues.

Anonymous said...

I'm impressed that the cops were aggressive in trying to thwart what they thought could be the kidnapping of a little Black girl. Too often missing Black children are not given priority by law enforcement or news media. It's unfortunate that this particular stop was so ill-fated, but if the police are deemed inherently wrong for making such an arrest,what happens when a child is really in trouble?

Anonymous said...

People keep disputing whether you are "under arrest" or "detained". The only difference is semantics. If you ask the police officer these two questions: "Am I under arrest?" and "Am I free to leave?" you'll have your answer. Unless they answer NO to the first question and YES to the second, you are under arrest. Just to be clear, you could be standing there having a friendly conversation, but the moment you are not free to leave, you ARE under arrest.

Anonymous said...

I live in Mexico. Though you have heard how terrible life is here, in fact when I cross the border headed south, I let out a big sigh of relief, because I am not going to be illegally stopped by US cops. I am far less afraid of Mexican police than US cops. Mexican cops hope to get twenty bucks. US cops want to steal your car.

I have been stopped twice with no probable cause, though in both cases, they pretended they had probable cause. In Mississippi, the cop who stopped me tried to forcibly rip up my back hatch without permission, and after considerable thought, I realized if he had succeeded, I would have had my car confiscated because of the packet he tossed in. This sort of nonsense does not happen in Mexico.

The other case was in KY. The chubby cop pulled me over claiming I was doing 70 in a 55 construction zone. I was well aware what the speed limit had been, and was on cruise control at 55. After entering the 70 zone, I clicked up my cruise control. He was a g.d. liar, he just wanted to try to steal my car because I had Texas plates.

In McAllen, young men tell me it happens all the time. The cops pretend some offense that never happened, to try to search the car, in hopes of stealing it. This does not happen in Mexico.

I served in the military, and it is disgusting that now I cannot drive across the country I served without my legal and constitutional rights being violated by some skin head cop.

I forgot to mention I have never had a moving violation in my life, and didn't have one when they stopped me, either.

Anonymous age 69

Anonymous said...

So sorry, I hope you do file a complaint. You deserve better, a right to spend time with your grandchild without fear...

Anonymous said...

So Peter Principle;

In your incident, the cops know you're the one coming out on the front porch. But, they subdue you anyway, and in the process, display your family jewels to the neighborhood while the real perp gets away.

Brilliant police work. Just brilliant.

Peter Houston said...

I agree with others that I'd like to hear the other side of the story before condemning the officers involved. Whatever the facts might be, the armchair lawyers seem woefully inept in their beliefs about legal relief.

Anonymous said...

Warning: Law school nerdery is about to commence, and this is written purely as an academic discussion and in response to the other lawyer / law student / Legal interest posts throughout this thread. Obviously, I am not advising anyone to any end, but just sharing my thoughts on some of the interesting issues these facts raise.
-This looks like a complicated bar crossover hypo. If I was taking this exam I would say something like: Under these facts it looks like no reasonable suspicion, which is a lesser standard than probable cause (R.S. is required to justify a terry stop, which gets its name from Terry v. Ohio in which an officer stopped and frisked two gentleman the officer has seen staking out a storefront, and who were found to be armed), nor any probable cause to believe that a felony had been committed, so as to justify a seizure, nor any felony or misdemeanor performed in the presence of an officer (so as to justify a seizure, the text book case for this one is actually from Texas, and involves a woman getting arrested from committing a class C misd. in the presence of an officer, namely not wearing her seat belt, but I don't remember the name of the case at the moment). If there had been a kidnapping call placed by someone, or if the plaintiff fit the description of someone who had been reported to the police to be committing a crime, the PC equation would obviously change.
Barring some unknown facts however, I would say this all adds up to a pretty decent looking, uhhhh, is it Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (depriving someone of their civil rights under color of law? I don't remember the civil rights stuff too well) type of claim. Also there are potentially some claims in tort as well, which I *think* would just apply normally against police, but I'm not sure off the top of my. These would potentially allow for damages (money) for assault, battery, false imprisonment, and whatever else Texas has going on in this department. As for injunctive relief (as an earlier poster suggested), I would guess that under these facts the P would be able to seek injunctive relief as to himself (which would probably be pointless), but there would be a kind of interesting third party standing issue (which I believe would bar injunctive relief in general) if he tried to get injunctive relief barring the police from ever stopping and questioning people under these facts (See city of LA v. Lyons for an interesting version involving a person seeking injunctive relief against choke holds.)...

The really interesting ruling that you could get out of this is not some kind of injunctive relief, but rather a declaratory judgement in federal court (maybe taking a 4th amendment approach) stating that a chile of one race accompanied by an adult of another race is not alone a reasonably sufficient probable cause or reasonable suspicion.
I have literally no idea how this would work, but there is something in there I think.
Also of note, I bet there is probably already a ruling out there somewhere to that effect.

(wow, I had fun writing this...)

In any event. Bummer. Not to be a Polyanna, but the good news is that you didn't get tazed in the bargain...

Anonymous said...

The USA is such an institutionally racist country, it beggars belief that they would stop this man on multiple occasions.

Lawsuit please, and write to Barack as well.

Anonymous said...

Finally, not only am I not going to sue the police, I doubt anyone even violated APD policies so a complaint wouldn't do much either - they're TRAINED to respond like that, which is my main beef with what happened. This wasn't a bug in the system, it's a feature.

Sufficient complaints MAY ultimately cause them to change their policies. It'd take a long time and many of them, though.

johnrawlins said...

What a frightening story. I guess the lights are slowly going out in Texas. Maybe you should consider living in a freer city, state, or nation.

Anonymous said...

What a bunch of angry people. I hope that if my child was kidnapped they'd stop every SOB in the area with a kid that matched my kids description and shake them down.

That the experience was tough for Ty is obvious. However, there is some important back information that is missing. Was there an actual kidnapping or did someone just see something suspicious? If there was, what were the descriptions of the victim and the suspect? Was it close relative to time and location?

If it was a suspicious person report they went way overboard. If a woman was complaining that a white guy in a green shirt and blue jeans just kidnapped her black daughter in a yellow dress and that is what Scott and Ty were wearing then perhaps they were being diligent.

Not that I'd expect most of these commenters to recognize that some informaiton was lacking from your story.

The bad part is that none of that matters to Ty, she was subjected to something she didn't like and for that I am sorry. All that other stuff should matter to adults though.

Kavius said...

My step-father is Cree, and I seem to remember having a similar conversation with cops, mall security gaurds, teachers, complete strangers... starting at about 8 up until I was about 15 (at which point we just got dirty looks because people assumed it wasn't a paternal relationship).

I do remember one time I almost ended up assaulting someone because they tried to physically separate us (I don't remember how old I was but I was pretty young). I think they were trying to rescue me from the horrible kidnapper, what they didn't know is he had me working out 4 hours every day. They grabbed my arm, and pulled, when I pulled back they fell over. By this point the questioning was old hat, so I just started yelling at the person while she lay on the ground. It probably looked pretty dramatic when my dad physically pulled me off, and restrained me. All he said to me was "That was Stupid! ... funny, but stupid."

I never got over these events, but I definitely used the experiences to shape my world view when I got older and was better able to analyze the experience.

It sucks now, but my guess is the child will likely be a better/stronger adult for the experience. In the mean time, I prescribe lots of hugs as needed.

Anonymous said...

Police departments are dominated by the feminist religion of man-hate. Men are presumed perpetrators, women are presumed victims, and children are a convenient excuse for law enforcement to approach men like Gestapo thugs.

Anonymous said...

I keep thinking, the US has gone from a good deal og Andy Griffiths to a nation of Barney Fifes LEOS.

Overkill is the SOP. Gotta be SAFE...don't take a CHANCE ever, and blame it on lawsuits, and blah, blah...

That you pointed out, they didn't take ANY account into the scare they were putting into a 5 year old, nor that the second they were on you, ANY competent police officer should have been able to insure her safety while asking (and no reason not to do it politely either) questions to verify all was ok.
Police swarm nowdays like never before, do not seem to care one whit about the citizens, demand immidiate and complete surrender to their whims (watch COPS and see how often when they stop someone one cop is yelling for the guy to do one thing, and another is yelling to do something totally contradictory...one of them always makes the guy pay, then lectures him for not following orders. Many times they tackle someone who is not resisting, just not putting his face down in the gravel fast enough for them.

I am white, also have two grandaoughters that are black. But I live in Norway, and so far...not coming close to anything like this.

Seesm like cops in the US often hide behind "safety" to justify NEVER putting themselves in any danger, or never treating civilians as free people.

Cops used to be tougher, and used to be able to handle folks politely when called for, and safely when it was bad guys.

Voice of LIberty said...

Sue those bastards! They have no right to approach you and your granddaughter, much less handcuff you.

Unfortunately, this incident is a harsh lesson for Ty to learn: cops are not your friends. They are agents of the state and are there to enforce the will of the wealthy status quo on us little peons.

guestcomment said...

You did the best you could for yourself and your familty. Nicely written.
Personally, from a somewhat different angle of perspective, I have an issue with not being able to walk down the street. It seems to me everytime a person dares to actually walk somewhere on their own feet, the risk for trouble is quadrupled. And that in itself has little to do with race, but more with not driving. Which saddens me, because we grow up with two healthy legs.

MsSnooty2Shus said...

I have mixed opinion on this. Again there are two sides to any coin. In Texas one never knows do they. It was RIGHT for the police to initially stop this man. It was WRONG to bring the swat team and never taking the first chance to verify the facts, But then that's Texas where they still legally kill black folk while dragging them behind their vehicles. I commend Mr Henson for his stand on justice and even more I applaud him for walking boldly down his Texas street with a beautiful black child in his tow!

Skyfire said...

My niece is a nanny to two black children, and she gets a lot of terrible looks from people who assume that she's their mother and that's a bad thing. No one has tried to arrest her, though, and I think part of that is that she's a woman. My husband gets crap when he's out with our daughter, even though she looks just like him. Babysitting while looking different from your charge and babysitting while male are things society doesn't seem to trust. *shakes head*

MsSnooty2Shus said...

Skyfire Great points which I certainly agree to. What a good topic for my SOC 231 class on Families and Traditions

Anonymous said...

Scott - just FYI, Andrew Sullivan picked up your story:

http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2012/02/babysitting-white-white.html

Anonymous said...

You're lucky you don't live in Portland, Oregon where our rogue, completely out of control police department apparently believes in the policy of shoot first, ask questions of the survivors. It's seriously too bad this had to happen to you and your grand daughter, but as long as we allow our police to treat everyone like the enemy this is going to happen.

Anonymous said...

So sorry this happened to your family.

I was reflecting as I read how much the South has changed. In the bad ole days, no one would have cared or even noticed possible abuse of a black child by a white man. Thank god humans learn, change and grow.

I will also remember this story when I read about how police don't care about missing black girls, only white ones.

Anonymous said...

What a terrible story. The thing that struck me most about it was how much your ultimate release seemed to rely on how your 5-year-old granddaughter reacted to the situation. Thank goodness for everyone that she handled it so well. Lots of other kids that age wouldn't have been able to.

zoic said...

I don't use the phrase "fascist pigs" lightly, but this qualifies.

This is what happens when Stormtroopers attempt child protection.

Anonymous said...

Sue. And get this posted in the local paper. Shame them. (And for the record, I'm an attorney. Yes, you can and should sue.)

Anonymous said...

Had I been that initial officer, you wouldn't have left the first encounter. You both would have sat down and waited for a senior officer to arrive.

Teach your granddaughter the meaning of the words "obdurate ass" and apologize to her for your conduct.

Hopefully she DID learn the downside of not cooperating with the police.

Anonymous said...

white people complaining about white people problems

Anonymous said...

Scott, I'm sorry you and Ty had to experience the ugly side of law enforcement. Unfortunately, the experience will stay with her for many years even if she never speaks of it again. Please, please, please file a formal complaint against all of the officers involved. Ty obviously knows the officer's conduct was wrong, but it would be a great way to also show her that she should never be afraid to stand up and speak the truth.

Anonymous said...

You've been going after the police almost daily for thirty years. Now you've finally got a chance to stick it to them. I say DO IT!

Michel Phillips said...

A dissenting voice.

OK, the police overreacted a bit. But the bottom line is you were not arrested. And if you'd just answered the first officer's questions when it was just her, the rest of it probably would never have happened.

Look at it from officer #1's perspective. She gets a call about possible kidnapping. She finds a man with a child who's crying and saying something the officer can't understand. The man won't give his name or answer questions. Can you imagine her just letting it drop? Can you imagine the news stories if somebody's child turns up molested or dead or both?

Of course you had no obligation to answer her questions. But you and she were both just people trying to get through the day doing the right thing. If you'd helped her out a bit, it might well have turned out better for you as well.

MN said...

I don't even want to imagine how this could have been worse if it was a black grandpa with a white grandaughter or something.

*shiver*

I hate police so very much.

Anonymous said...

Horrible story. I'll think twice before walking around with my mixed nephew whos 3. I would get a lawyer and nail them to the wall. I bet there was no report at all, the first cop just assumed, like a white man couldnt have a black grandchild. Austin Police should be ashamed. Everyone should write them!

SCOTT TAKE THIS ALL THE WAY!

Anonymous said...

I read about your situation and I am so sorry. I am in an interracial marriage, no kids, but I babysit nieces and nephews (great ones) a lot with my husband (he's white)and I have always been concerned about that. It is a shame that it happened to you, and I am surprised your granddaughter didn't flip out on them and throw a fit. This shows me once again that the job the cops should do they don't. They could have handled this better.

Anonymous said...

The police were right to follow up on any call of suspected child endangerment, assuming they actually received such a phone call in the first place. (If they did, whoever made the phone call may well have done do because of racist assumptions). What really bothers me is the "guilty until proven innocent" way the police treated the grandfather. I'm sure there are other, similar situations where the police hurt people physically, under the "guilty until proven innocent" assumption, and the person is perfectly innocent. This is inexcusable.

Anonymous said...

I do not know the laws in Texas but in many states the act of being handcuffed does not mean you have been arrested. Police are given some latitude to cuff to protect himself and prevent the suspect from fleeing. There is a difference between being detained and being arrested.

Spiritual Klutz said...

That left my stomach in knots. Hopefully, the exposure you've brought to the situation will help in its own small way.

Anonymous said...

I can only say

I'm grateful the police didn't dismiss the concern either because of the neighborhood or because the child was black -- Bravo Texas.

That said

Really they couldn't call to verify his story. One poster suggested an escort home. Really Texas pull it together.

BubblesDeux said...

First, you have an excellent blog and I'm sorry I'm only learning about it now because of this post.

Second, in NYC, we're just learning that our Mayor and Police Chief have quietly brought back profiling as a way to lower crime. What's most surprising is that people are shocked by this - in fact, most of NJ has been doing this, openly, for years.

Regardless of the reason, it is wrong and too often leads to incidents like yours - an assumption is made and a cop steps in to 'protect and serve' when in reality all they have done is use color to decide the facts for them.

This is one of those 'teachable' moments, I am sure, but it is one I sure wish we didn't have to keep teaching.

M1EK said...

Sorry to hear this, Scott. Are you still going to post Acevado's response?

Anonymous said...

I won't pretend to knowledge when we're only getting one side of the story here, but I sympathize with the grandfather and grandchild because of my experiences with police. I was raised to think the police were trustworthy and helpful, and I still think many individual officers are indeed like this. However, once you've had experiences with the few who go overboard or try to harass and intimidate people, you're forever after wary and mistrustful of them. This is a sad state of affairs. Bad police officers--or those who make honest mistakes but then never go out of their way to apologize or try to repair the damage, as with a 5 year old who has now learned to fear and mistrust police--are making things bad for all of the good officers out there.

Anonymous said...

That story could have happened here in California also. Seems to me the police are quick to act but slow to admit they are wrong.
You are lucky they did not shot you.
Bless her heart, it was so wrong.

Anonymous said...

I read about this in the MSM, and swear to God my first thought was "Huh, wonder of they got Henson again."

Sucks man, but you're handling it better than I would have. I'd go nuclear on them. You can always find a lawyer to file suit for you, and I would have.

Rage

djtejas said...

After reading this I believe what Scott said at the end of the ordeal.
This was on the Deputy that evidently called the APD.
Although the APD may have been a little rough and maybe could have handled it more, it seems they were reacting to an actual report of a child abduction...instigated by the Deputy that questioned them earlier.
The blame should be on the Deputy...

Anonymous said...

I think you are making a mistake in refusing to pursue this matter in court. You have a responsibility not only to your granddaughter, but to your fellow citizens in Austin to see that the APD does not repeat this.

I don't know why you are under the impression that there were no violations of law, and thus no cause of action, simply because these APD officers may have followed what you assume to be current APD policies. An officer can follow his department's policies to the letter but still be liable if the policies themselves are unreasonable or if his conduct constituted a violation of civil rights. Moreover, I doubt that it was consistent with APD policy to have a squad of cops standing around doing nothing while a citizen is needlessly detained, separated from his minor granddaughter, while waiting for his information to be verified.

I am pretty conservative when it comes to litigation and I really dislike lawsuits against the police based on minor unpleasant incidents. But this is different. This was over the line and it impacted the psyche of a child. And if you do nothing, there is every reason to think that it will happen again and again over the next decade.

Do something about it, or figure out how to explain your passivity and indifference to your granddaughter.

Anonymous said...

You have been going after the police on a daily basis for thirty years. You finally have a chance to stick it to them. I say DO IT!

Anonymous said...

file a 1983 claim. 42 USC section 1983. no kid should have to face this kind of trauma without good cause.

Anonymous said...

My BS detector is tingling slightly.

How do you reconcile this statement you made to the deputy:

"You knew better. This is on you."

with your conclusion that no APD policies were violated? Unless it is an APD policy to knowingly act in a wrong way, then policies were violated. It sounds like you either haven't thought this thing through or you are making stuff up.

Anonymous said...

You have been going after the police on a daily basis for thirty years. You finally have a chance to stick it to them. I say DO IT!

Yvonne said...

I feel that the first officer made the right decision to approach you and to call for backup. You stated yourself that “she looked skeptical” when you refused to provide your name for her report: "Then she pulled out her pad and paper and asked 'Can I get your name, sir, just for my report?' I told her I'd prefer not to answer any questions and would like to leave, if we were free to go, so I could get the child to bed. She looked skeptical but nodded and Ty and I turned tail and walked toward home." Why not provide the information? At the end of the day, it was more important to keep a child safe than to prove a point. You have to accept or at least consider that your wonderful family is an exception to the rule. Most black children do not have white grandfathers. And abductions do happen in the open, where the average observer says and does nothing (not wanting to get involved). BTW - I happened to come from a city where an older white man abducted and killed a little black girl. So it does and can happen. Nonetheless, I am sorry that you and your granddaughter had to experience reality in such a harsh way.

Anonymous said...

You made the big time.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/14/white-grandfather-detained_n_1275383.html

Yvonne said...

This is Yvonne again . . . the one who is not upset at the police in your situation, although I empathize with you. Here is a link to an article about the little black girl who was abducted by an older white man in my hometown: http://enquirer.com/columns/pulfer/1998/07/070298lp.html. I forgot to mention that he raped her and dumped her body in the woods. Of course - the victim and perpetrator could have been any race. The point is: If an observer or officer is in doubt, I want them to investigate to ensure the child's protection.

Anonymous said...

IF there was actually a "call". . . these "calls" are often made up to justify a stop. . . the initial officer should have inquired of you and Ty. That should have been the end of it. The rest is complete crap. I have two hapa kids myself. Fortunately, here in hawaii most everyone else does too! All best and good luck to you!
william "pili" mcgrath, wailuku

Charlie Koledo said...

Problem started:
Citizen perceived a possible kidnapping and called police.

Problem grew:
Possible kidnapper initially showed resistance by indicating he didn't want to answer questions.
At this point, how can you be mad at the cops?

Releasing a possible kidnapper without verifying the story doesn't seem like a very smart move. Once the possible kidnapper was released, someone had the brains to verify the story. I can imagine a request was made over the radiofor assistance in locating a possible kidnapper ( hence the massive response).

There is no lawsuit here or violation of policy. Wake up people. If it had been a legit kidnapping, the citizen that called and the cops would be heros.

As far as the 5 year old goes, explain to her that people make mistakes. Don't hate on the police. After all, they are who you will call if you need help and im sure you will hope they show up in force

Anonymous said...

Sounds as if the police did the right thing. Some citizen of this African-American neighborhood thought it looked suspicious for a white guy to be following a black girl in the dark.

You admit you refused to answer the first officer's questions, and the little girl was acting frightened. So the officer did the right thing and called for backup.

You understandably get tired of people suspecting you, but the horror of potentially letting a little girl be raped and murdered weighs much heavier on a citizen's and a peace officer's mind. Sorry, but your annoyance is trifling compared to a young girl's safety. You should be happy that the neighbors and the police are looking out for her.

Your granddaughter is absolutely adorable, and God forbid someday she really does get grabbed and the police ignore her plight because of whiners like you.

--julie

Laura said...

Not that you need one more comment to clutter your inbox! But some people here have a shocking misunderstanding of principles of constitutional law. This isn't surprising, as people to go school for years to understand this stuff. But according, for example, to Terry v. Ohio, a cop can stop you and ask you questions and it does not amount to an arrest as long as you still are free to go. Once you were handcuffed, you--and any reasonable person, which is the standard--would see your freedom of movement as being taken away, the definition of an arrest. I don't know what happened there that night, but they needed probable cause to arrest you and they needed to explain that to you.

Moreover, I am very concerned about the fact that they took the child from you and questioned her outside the presence of a parent/guardian or child advocate.

I know you don't necessarily want to spend the time fighting this, but for every violation of our rights that we let go unchallenged, we let the government feel a little more that it has the right to ignore those rights simply for the purpose of expediency.

Lillie Family said...

I agree with Charles Kuffner...

Larry Kellogg said...

One car, two cops, five minutes, no cuffs, be REAL nice to the child, and no bullshit.
Lots of Love to You and Your granddaughter. Larry

Anonymous said...

There is a difference between arresting a person and detaining them. When somebody reports a kidnapping to the police, the police will respond in a way that is in the best interest of a kidnapping victim... that includes detaining who was reported to them to be the abductor. Anything less is irresponsible. Be pissed at the person who called the police and told them you were a predator, not the police for doing their jobs trying to protect a juvenile who was reported as being a victim.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps some of the blame lies with Scott? When the cop asked for your name, and was attempting to verify everything, you said that you did not want to answer any questions. Come on, something looked out of place, and you cant answer a few questions to clarify the situation? I am not absolving the police of their part in the situation, but you need to take some of the blame as well. We do not live in a perfect world, and people do kidnap children. Had you said hey, here is my daughters phone number, please call her to verify, the problem would have been solved. Instead you wanted to stick it to the man, and refuse to answer a few clarifying questions.

K. Connelly said...

I, like many others, am incensed that you and Ty had this keystone cop adventure. My mind cannot wrap around how these two events could impact Ty but clearly, she has firm and gentle guidance which will enable her to put them into proper perspective. I suspect the incidents will be life-defining for her and we will some day hear how Ty took her memories to positively impact many people. I for one, will patiently wait to see it happen. An exciting thought. Take care.

Island Girl said...

Hello, I first want to commend you and your lovely wife for your wonderful hearts that first you both loved enough to adopt Ty's Mom. I wish more people were colored blind as you are and the world would truly be a better place.

I truly wish that the situation that you and Ty experienced could have been handled differently... however, as you are very much aware, the world is truly a scary place with all of the "Sex Offenders" that are released back into society daily. I know that some of our police can truly over-react in most situations and often cause the escalation by their actions or reactions. But, I am greatful that at least they were concerned enough to care that another child was not going to go missing. As you stated, after they cleared you they should have immediately spoken to Ty in your presence and explained to her what and why they acted in that manner.

My prayers go out to you and your wonderful wife and your family. You keep true to Ty... She is gonna need you in this Scary World!

Phelps said...

For all the people who think this overreaction is justified by all the child predators out there snatching children off the streets, I really urge you to watch the "Stranger Danger" episode of Penn & Teller's Bullsh*t!.

http://www.trilulilu.ro/video-vedete/penn-and-teller-bullshit-stranger-danger-1-3

Way too many children are traumatized by the system to be justified by the tiny, tiny risk of being snatched up by a stranger.

Anonymous said...

A.C.A.B.

Jeanne Sager said...

Scott. I'm a fellow blogger, and this story struck me as so, so horrible. I just wanted to share the reaction I had that I shared with my readers over at CafeMom. It sounds like you're a great grandfather doing exactly what you're supposed to be doing -- being involved in your granddaughter's life. http://thestir.cafemom.com/big_kid/133071/cops_go_overboard_in_protecting

Anonymous said...

I agree. So often we create our own situations and fail to bear responsibility for the repercussions. An unfortunate situation was exacerbated by both sides. And to an earlier post, how simplistic can you be to blame this on the Oval Office regardless who it is occupied by. And lastly, if this child had been in danger and the police had not responded, well, they would have been at fault for that as well.

Anonymous said...

Ive been thinking about your story since it happened. On one hand if the colors were reversed and you were a Black man with a white child the police would have just shot you first. On the other hand its nice to see for once police urgently reacting to a black girl in possible need rather than the next blonde that goes missing from the mall or on holiday while young black girls and women that go missing seldom get found. But either way the police once again prove themselves to be incapable of common sense or any kind of critical thinking.

Surazeus Astarius said...

My suggestion would be to take her to the police station and have them give you and her a tour of their facilities so she can clearly see they perform a valuable and necessary function in society that does not involve pouncing on her grandfather. Let her see them in a different situation so she gets a more rounded view of them, and can see them as people.

Wastrel said...

As a cop told me 30+ years ago, "If you're white and you're in East Austin you've got to expect things like that." It looks like times are not changing after all.

Anonymous said...

If someone is unarmed and hasn't committed a crime pointing a weapon at them would be aggravated assault, right? The police are way too willing to draw and use Tasers.

Anonymous said...

Everyone likes to whine about how the police are so terrible. What if this really had been an abduction? Maybe some of you should do a ride along and see the sort of abuse the typical police officer has to put up with. I'm surprised that anyone would be willing to work in law enforcement with the ridiculous scrutiny they have to endure. I'm 50, a long haired American Indian and have never been treated badly by any law enforcement officer. Having worked in Emergency Medicine for 25 years I have seen the abuse officers have to put up with from the public.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if any had body mikes to go with the dash cameras. Sounds like an open records request to me.

Michelle said...

Art, Art, where Art thou now? Really?

Anonymous said...

The mistake that you made was in refusing to tell the first deputy your name. That was what kept you under suspicion, because it's an innocent enough question (from their perspective) and one that most people would not hesitate to answer. So while I understand your outrage at this absurd spectacle, it's important to realize that you do bear some responsibility for it.

Phelps said...

So while I understand your outrage at this absurd spectacle, it's important to realize that you do bear some responsibility for it.

Ah yes, the old "well, she was wearing a short dress" excuse.

Anonymous said...

Call your community liason. The NAACP keeps asking Austin to implement sensitivity training for situations like this...

Anonymous said...

@Phelps: My comment was not a case of blaming the victim. When a police officer asks you your name, you are required to answer. If you refuse, they can and often will take you into custody. So when he refused to answer this question, he opened the door to being forced to answer.

The fact is that this deputy seems to have been inexperienced or incompetent. She should never have allowed him to leave her presence without getting his name. The whole multi-agency squad car fiasco might have been avoided if she had asserted herself in this regard.

Should he have come under suspicion of kidnapping merely because he's a white man with a black child? Of course not. But refusing to give his name only exacerbated the situation.

Phelps said...

@Phelps: My comment was not a case of blaming the victim. When a police officer asks you your name, you are required to answer. If you refuse, they can and often will take you into custody. So when he refused to answer this question, he opened the door to being forced to answer.

You are absolutely and totally wrong. You have a right to not give your name unless they have probable cause to arrest you.

"Sec. 38.02. FAILURE TO IDENTIFY. (a) A person commits an offense if he intentionally refuses to give his name, residence address, or date of birth to a peace officer who has lawfully arrested the person and requested the information."

My emphasis. Until you are lawfully arrested, you aren't required to give your name in Texas. The end. You have to show a drivers license if your car is stopped because you are driving, which is a different situation.

This isn't Nazi Germany, and this is the classic example. You have a right to move about the public areas of the US without having to ID yourself. That's part of your right to peaceable assembly.

Grits was told he was free to go. At that point, he was not under lawful arrest and had no obligation to tell the officer anything, especially his name.

JonnysGramma said...

Scott - I am so sorry that you and especially Ty had to go through this. Gives me a little fear having a grandson who's half-asian (age 3 now) and the prospects of this happening down the road to my husband or me as we raise him.
I agree with many here, especially since it happened before. Also about getting any info off a tape the police may have had recorded in their cars, file a complaint, sue if you must! (and I'm not big on lawsuits.) Somehow, this has to STOP. This is 2012, not 1962. I DO hope that you take some kind of action, no one deserves to go through that.
Also, both you and especially your precious Ty will be in my prayers. Kids do 'bounce back' but the memory every time she sees a police car could raise it's ugly head. Obviously, she truly loves her grampa to be such a big girl under the pressure of the many questions she was put through. I'd like to also send along a (((HUG)) for Ty. Remembering the first incident then this, my heart hurts for her and with all my heart I pray that it NEVER happens again. That aweet child has seen enough - too much-of what never should even be. God bless you and Ty, her mom, your whole family.

big bubba tadsworth said...

This is awful, but imagine what it would have been like, if the man was black, and the little girl, was white.

dancewater said...

I agree - sue their asses. Make sure Ty has a fund for upcoming needed therapy to recover from this racist country!

And I would recommend taking a female with you when you and Ty go anywhere! You need a bodyguard!

I am a Human on Planet Earth said...

Grits: "I'd like her to view police as people she can trust..."

How can you possibly even think this? Isn't it obvious now to you that they absolutely cannot be trusted?

For a firm understanding why many if not most police will become abusive, check out this book: "The Most Dangerous Superstition" by Larken Rose

Anonymous said...

You know, unless you're using hyperbole to describe your actions to the cops and their reaction, you were pretty dumb there.

Note: Fully aware of your rights, but still dumb.

You don't seem to like the local PD and from what I've heard of Texas, I don't think I'd like them either. But you also seem to, from the topic of the blog, seem to have a functional grasp of how the fuzz thinks.

Out of all the options you had, you chose "Mouth off at the police and cause a scene so you could make a huffy, indignant blog post".

I'm not feeling the pity; you decided to fuck with the po-po, while your five-year-old grandkid was along, and the cops reacted exactly as you knew, or at least suspected, they would. If you wanted a pity-party, you should've picked a situation where it wouldn't terrify a preschooler.

You ignored the first cop, were brusque, and then left. The brain of an active duty cop has room for exactly two lines of thought. (1) "Civilians are crazy and untrustworthy and probably doing something illegal", and (2) "I must CYA (Cover my ass)." Everything flows from there.

She's not thinking about how 20th-century it is to assume a little black girl to have a white grandaddy; she may not even have it in for honkies. (You haven't said what her race was, BTW.) She's thinking that you're acting weird and overly defensive, and by this time your granddaughter has probably picked up on that and is getting unhappy because Paw-Paw is angry, and that particular woman is thinking to herself that she has no way of being sure you are who you say you are and what if that little girl gets found dead and dismembered later, like the Jeffrey Dahmer victim who escaped only to have the rescuing cops return him to the serial killer.

Okay, I lied: Cops actually have three possible lines of thought, and the third is "I don't get paid enough for this shit". At this point, that thought is warring with CYA. If she's in contact with the guys in the cars, all she can tell them is that yep, there's an older white male here in custody of a black female juvenile (probably an upset one, by this point). If Miss Po-Po is black, she's probably thinking about the average police force disregards the abductions/rapes/murders of black youth. If she's white, she might be thinking that too, and she's also thinking how easy it would be to accuse her of racism if you turned out to be serial molester.

If you're going to pull crap like this, seriously--don't just mouth off at the cops. They are not used to it, and it tends to send their little brains into panic mode. Being an asshole doesn't make you look like an anti-racist hero for civil rights; it just makes you look like an asshole.

You can stand up for yourself while remaining civil. And if you're going to make a habit of it, for crissakes retain a lawyer in advance.

Texas Aggie said...

What can you say? Cops, especially in Texas, like to pick on people who can't fight back. It's why they went into the business in the first place.

I would like to see this story in the Austin American, especially with names of the cops involved and how they behaved. Maybe a bit of social condemnation for psychological abuse of a little kid would improve their behavior in the future, but I'm not going to hold my breath.

BIG SCOTT said...

This is why every law abiding citizen needs to download "Qik" to their smartphone. With Qik all you have to do is tap your smart phone a couple of times and it starts uploading video straight to the web where no one including the police can touch it without your permission. Even if you start the video and then stick your smartphone in your shirt pocket no one will be the wiser that you're recording and at least you'll have audio of what's being said.

http://www.qik.com

El Conquistador said...

They probably got suspicious when you refused to give your name.

Kat said...

Sue and donate the funds to a worthy cause.

Anonymous said...

Sue and get nothing because the cops were trying to protect who they were told was being abducted.

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Tim said...

Contact the ACLU immediately. You need someone with some power to back you up. These cops were just racist, plain and simple.

Anonymous said...

Similar incidents have happened to my uncle and young cousin in Austin. How DARE that imposing white man have a daughter adopted from China...

Luckily, the two times they've tried to take it quite THIS far, he's been at public parks near home, and neighbors who knew him and his daughter were able to step in.

Anonymous said...

Similar harassing has happened to my uncle and little cousin. In Austin.

Because clearly, that large imposing white man couldn't possibly have that tiny Asian daughter.

Y'know, how DARE a white man adopt a Chinese baby.

Luckily (sort of), the two times they've tried to take it quite this far, he's been at parks near home with at least one or two neighbors who knew him and his daughter and were able to talk them down.

After the third time, he started carrying some of her adoption paperwork in his wallet.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe many are asking you about filing a complaint. This is APD doing something good. I am a black female living in Austin and have had many bad experience with the police not protecting me...because of my race.
(I have filed complaints and written letters to the editor on the subject.)

So rejoice and be thankful that they care about a black child. Thankful that they respond so strongly to a black child possibly being in danger. Think about the alternative.

Anonymous said...

Grits, sorry this happened to you but I'm forced to ask the question: What would all of the outraged posters here think if the race rolls were reversed? If the child were white with blond hair and blue eyes and the male were a middle aged black man how many of the people here would chalk your concerns up to playing the "race card?" Being man handled by the police is never a good thing, but the well being of children is paramount. Once again, I'm sorry this happened to you, but I'm glad to see the police showing as much concern for the safety of a black child as they would for any other irrespective of race.

Anonymous said...

Fucking sad. The US is going down the toilet more and more with each passing day.

Sue those bastards.

Anonymous said...

THERE WAS A REPORT OF A KIDNAPPING. What part of that do you NOT understand? For goddsakes, what a whiner you are, dude...boo-frickin'-hoo. Had the cops NOT questioned you after the kidnapping report, you'd have lambasted APD for not being thorough enough and/or for not caring about a kidnapped black child. I don't see a THING wrong with what APD did, including handcuffing your dumb ass. You, sir, are a professional WHINER...please, help yourself to a giant steaming cup of STFU.

Phelps said...

THERE WAS A REPORT OF A KIDNAPPING.

YOUR RIGHTS DON'T GO OUT THE WINDOW BECAUSE SOMEONE ELSE REPORTS SOMETHING.

If I reported space aliens landing in the Walmart parking lot, that doesn't give the cops the right to go ID everyone there to make sure they are from this planet.

Andrés León Álvarez said...

I heard about this story and searched for your blog. Just want to sent you my best wishes, and hope you and your grandchild never have to suffer a similar episode. Cheers from Argentina.

Anonymous said...

I believe Austin PD has a ride along program. Spend some tome with a cop and you might find out they are normal people.

Phelps said...

I have several relatives who are or were cops. If they were working in an office or as a mechanic somewhere, they would be good people. Put a badge on them, and they are a menace to society. I don't need a ride along to see that.

Anonymous said...

I've done the ride-along before. Got to see, among other things, 20 cops and a HELICOPTER come out to chase down a kid who had snatched a 6-pack of beer. They all had a blast chasing him, and when they finally tasered him they all stood around for 30 minutes congratulating each other on their catch while the kid lay face first on the concrete still twitching.

Scott, the NINE cops were there for the fun of, because the possible chance to play hunter in the woods seemed like way more fun than anything else.

Joe Blow said...

wow! lots of comments.

We live in a police state. The job of the police is to project state power while protecting themselves.

"Force Protection" is when all actions are taken to ensure full control over all other people in the area. This is the first priority and it involves beating and handcuffing anyone standing around.

also.. I could care less = could not care less

Anonymous said...

Having read books like "Arrest Proof Yourself" written by a former cop and FBI agent who is now a lawyer, I'm pretty sure that you ARE required to give basic information like your name and address to the police when stopped for any reason. It was obviously a mistake not to do this. And before crying racism, imagine what would happen if a little black girl HAD been kidnapped by a pedophile who happened to be white and the police let him go?

Anonymous said...

Actually, having read books on "how not to be arrested", I'm pretty sure you ARE supposed to give basic information like your name to the police when stopped for any reason. Certainly it was not prudent to refuse to do this. Before you cry racism, think what would happen if a child really WERE with a pedophile and they did nothing?

GT said...

Was the deputy wearing a name tag? If so, you ought to NAME that stupid bitch: she called in the cavalry SOLELY because you weren't sufficiently supine when she demanded that you identify yourself like a well-behaved serf. Folks who think that wearing a tax-funded badge and gun gives them the right to pull that sort of Gestapo shit? Well, those folks need to wind up in a shallow hole in a cornfield.

And to all the dummies who say "Sue they asses, yo"... this is not "Law & Order" where the system winnows out the innocent and avoids miscarriages of justice. The system is DELIBERATELY *way* too expensive for a Commoner to pursue justice within its borders; it would bankrupt the average man to even get his skin in the game and you would be up against a system that PROTECTS ITS OWN... even if you won, you would die trying to collect.

Extrajudicial remedies are good enough for Obama (with his Death Squads and "Licence to Kill Citizens Without Due Process"), so let them be good enough for the Commoners. List the vermin who participated, and let Anonymous liberate all the data that pertains to their lives. If they want Commoners to be forced to stand naked before their displays of force, let them reap the whirlwind of righteous indignation.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your post and your experience.

I've been stopped, questioned, and harassed when escorting my nephew because racially we 'don't seem like we belong together' in New England. Small world.

I find it curious that not much is made of the issue that I believe is an elephant in the room. I was socialized to 'police race'. Weren't you?

That is to say, I was taught by example to be suspicious whenever I saw any groups of people of different race in close association... 'It just doesn't look right' is the type of irrational suspicion that I had to teach myself not to do reflexively. But first, I had to catch myself doing it and own it. If I can train myself, so can an officer of the peace : )...

Simon said...

I tip my hat to you, sir, for keeping your cool with those so called protectors of the peace. I also applaud your granddaughter for being very brave in what was most deffinatly a terrible ordeal for her. I'm stunned at what this world has turned into. Lost for words, completely.

Anonymous said...

"And be thankful you live in liberal Austin. In large parts of this state you might not have survived the encounter."

Hahaha-- Such a humorous comment to me! I've lived in Austin since 1971 and this city is the WORST in Texas for unjustified racial violence from cops--believe me- Houston, Dallas, SA, El Paso are places where cops are much less likely to shoot someone on the back!

Anonymous said...

what I want to know is, if there were so many police at the scene, why did it take them HOURS to make 1- 5 minute CALL, to confirm the guy's story???! too busy trying to try and sweat a confession from the guy to cover up the fact they SCREWED UP! they made an entire department look like a bunch of bigots! and they needed to save face. maybe they were waiting for him to loose his cool, and hit a cop...then the end justifies the means!

JoJo said...

APD is more racist than ever. it gets worse and worse an worse. non-austin readers be warned that cops here don't just think they are above the law, they are above the law - with the blessing of local leadership.

Lee said...

Scott, it it was the other way around (a white little girl with a black grandfather) they probably would have shot you.

Morgan said...

I just read this, Scott and I am infuriated. This was so, so wrong and I sure hope you are considering legal action on Ty's behalf. Those people terrorized and bullied her under the color of authority and that deputy constable should be put out of a job! It was harassment of you, but I think what they did and how they handled it was child abuse of your grand daughter and they don't have the right to abuse her just because they wear badges.

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Anonymous said...

As an retired Police Officer, I can tel you that I have been in that very same situation. Some people can not see past color, and will call if they see an interacial babysitting situatiuon.

I know for a fact one officer was all that was needed to simply talk to you. That rough treatment you received was WRONG. Police are supposed to maintain a degree of Force one level higher than your own. Period. Not jump the gun on obvious cooperation.

pdhen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
pdhen said...

Hi Scott.

So sorry your little girl had to experience this. Hopefully, your experience, though, can make a difference.

I am of the opinion that all police officers should be college educated. They should constantly be counseled and assessed, rotated from desk, to victim, to community services, as well as working the beat. These civil servants should know the people they SERVE and the people should know them. Clearly, trust has been leeched from the relationship. With these safeguards in place, the police and the people they serve have the best chance of remaining, compassionate, and in search of meaningful solutions.

Scott, this is an American experience and hopefully, you're an American that can help make it different. God bless you all.

Gilleez said...

No wonder Austin arrests blacks at 20 times the rate of whites for drug crimes. All those cops standing around in East Austin (nine cop cars) with nothing to do but harass a grandpa taking his granddaughter for a walk.

Gilleez said...

No wonder Austin arrests blacks at 20 times the rate of whites for drug crimes. All those cops standing around in East Austin (nine cop cars) with nothing to do but harass a grandpa taking his granddaughter for a walk.

Taunya said...

Like many others, I'm sorry this happened. However, (like others), I agree that this is the world we live in now. And I would MUCH rather the cops be safe than sorry. And I think I'd feel the same way even if I had gone through this myself. Like several have mentioned, it's not uncommon for kidnappers to slide through the cracks because civilians or police are not diligent.

As for the caller - once again, I'm glad she called. A couple of years ago I was stopped at a red light and saw a child jerk away from a much older man and start running. I then saw the man run and grab the child and walk him across a parking lot. After short thought, I called 911. I told the operator what I had seen, and that it could be the kids grandfather, but I was concerned if it wasn't. I don't know what happened after that. Either way, I thought it was better to be active and let everyone sort it out - than to not.

Everyone is always complaining about what the police and citizens DON'T do. While it may have been a 20 minute inconvenience - I'm glad it was just that. And I'll sleep a little better knowing that the cops did SOMETHING rather than NOTHING.

Anonymous said...

I've lost all respect for you and your column. Would you rather the police don't respond at all? Wouldn't you think they responded appropriately to what information they'd been given? Ever think that you yourself influenced how your granddaughter responded by behaving with anger and frustration rather than understanding that police are people too? No one needs to be held accountable for anything. The police were doing their job. Now it's up to you to do yours as a grandfather and set a better example in your interactions with the police.

Anonymous said...

Really looking forward to when APD releases the video that shows you were untruthful about this incident.

Anonymous said...

http://www.citizenobserver.com/cov6/app/alert.html?id=24448

Anonymous said...

Hey Scott, Stop lying about the incident. Wildly inaccurate account. I can't wait to see the video released. Then everyone around the world will see that you have a great imagination. Let your granddaughter be kidnapped and expect nothing to be done.

James Maxwell said...

Unfortunately in out society today this probably happens more than we hear about. Whether or not you agree or disagree with mixed marriages they happens all the time and children are the results. This is not limited to any particular race or skin color. Grandparents for the most part do not care what skin color their grandchild might have we love them regardless and would give our lives to protect and defend them from harm. But we have members of our society who only see the worse and try to promote racial disharmony for political gain. We see this in our politics constantly today. What I get form this article is the granddaughter does not see her grandpa as anything other than a loving and caring person who loves her and she trust him to protect her from harm. Based upon some of the people running loose in our society who prey upon children I can not completely blame the police either. But common sense and a little respect would have gone a long way to defuse the situation. Think they need a lot more training and less rambo mentality.

Anonymous said...

I eagerly await the mea culpable from Grits as the video and 911 calls are showing him to be heinously in the wrong on this.

tim said...

You are a lying scumbag Scott!! Luckily they have this on video and next week we will all get to see what you and the police chief watched together today. You have tarnished any credibility you have and should volunteer to shut this blog down as a result of your actions.

Anonymous said...

The child growing up and hating te police is a parental problem. The parents/grandparents can either cultivate the notion of trust, or destroy it.

Anonymous said...

Hahahahahaha....next week everyone will see what a lying POS you are !!!!

Anonymous said...

Awesome, folks...way to be sheep and assume, because of your own prejudice and preconceived bias against those that put on ballistic vests to protect you and your families 40+ hours a week, that those same officers are "jackbooted thugs" out only to harass poor little girls and their grandfathers. Next time, maybe you should read amateur blogs with the same skepticism and judgement you project on every statement released by APD. THEN, you would read through the sensationalism and grandeur spouted by the author and realize that, if this incident had actually occurred as was described, that Mr. Henson would have refrained from posting about it and, instead, retained the advice of an attorney. Don't just READ...THINK FOR YOURSELVES. If cops are just criminals with badges then what MOTIVE would they have for this? How does this criminally motivate them? Did they shake Mr. Henson down for money? Was it just to inflate their egos even though cameras were running that would capture their crimes and stop their income? Criminals do things because there's something to GAIN. Cops do their jobs because it's what they LOVE to do - help and protect those that need it, whether they want it or not.

Anonymous said...

Scott messed up, badly. How badly? To the point where even the Statesman called him on it, and they've never been friendly to APD. And in possibly whattl becomes the most deplorable act of his melodrama he asks the chief not to release the video due to Ty being on it. I agree no information or images of her should be released at all, but his hiding behind his daughter in an attempt to prevent the information making him look a fool being released is truly pathetic. Even in his update, I read nothing but irrational bitterness, as after being called out for every major claim he madehe now shifts the blame solely to one department. For shame Scott. Cops aren't perfect, and neither is the public they serve. In the tango of destruction which has eroded public trust in law enforcement (which ill say both sides have contributed to), way to act as a dance partner and bring it down even more

Anonymous said...

Looks like Scot messed up, badly. How bad? Even the Statesman, which I'd hardly call APD friendly, is running a story contradicting his claims after viewing the video and 911 calls of the incident.

And in perhaps what has become the most deplorable part of this melodrama, Scott has the audacity to ask the evidence vindicating the department and proving him a fool not be released as Ty is in it. I'm all for keeping Ty's information out, but for him to try to hide behind his granddaughter so people won't find out what a moron he is is pure cowardice.

It takes two to tango, and in the long slide of public confidence in law enforcement degrading, both sides have been at fault. Scott emphasizes exactly what the general public is capable of contributing to such a sad dance.

Anonymous said...

You're a liar. it's proven. Just like Judge Anderson, you use "artistic license when you write and embellish the truth. You got caught. Liar.

Now we can't believe anything you say about the police.

Read it and weep.

http://www.statesman.com/news/local/police-video-contradicts-bloggers-account-of-tasers-rough-2183449.html

Anonymous said...

Soctt owes every cop in Austin an apology. And of course, this calls into question every critical remark he's ever made about the police.

Scott never had the pride, integrity or guts to strap on a ballistic vest and protect the public.

Too bad you're programming your grandchild to hate the police.

Shame on you. You owe a big apology to the officers involved. And you're a wuss for trying to hide behind your granddaughter and keep this video from being released. I can't wait to see it.

You're just like Judge Anderson and John Bradley. You'd rather tell a lie when the truth would serve you better.

Liar.

Anonymous said...

If you're looking for some theme music for your blog, Henry Rollins had a great tune called LIAR.

Anonymous said...

http://www.statesman.com/news/local/police-video-contradicts-bloggers-account-of-tasers-rough-2183449.html

Here's the good part. Henson can't even admit he's a liar.

A police video shows that Austin officers responding to a call about a possible kidnapping did not draw Tasers or roughly handcuff a man as he had claimed in a blog that received national and international attention this week.

"He lied," Police Chief Art Acevedo said Friday of Scott Henson, who wrote about the incident in his "Grits For Breakfast" blog. Acevedo showed the video to an American-Statesman reporter Friday.

Henson said Friday that after watching the video with Acevedo this week, he had made some errors in his blog but was still critical of officers' response.

"It happened in a flash and like many eyewitnesses, when under a perceived threat, my mind filled in some pieces erroneously," Henson said in an email.

Anonymous said...

The difference between you and an eyewitness to a crime to might tell an incorrect story is that the eyewitness makes a mistake, and you intentionally lied.

Now we know why you didn't go to the FBI and report this as a violation of your civil rights. Simply verbally telling your lying tale to a federal officer is a federal offense.

Anonymous said...

The great thing is that the Statesman article about you lying will live on forever in cyberspace. As will the video.

Now when you slag the police, you can be googled and people will see what a liar you are.

If you had a scintilla of the integrity that these police officers you lied about, you'd write a big column apologizing for your lying. You got caught. We knew it all along.

A police video shows that Austin officers responding to a call about a possible kidnapping did not draw Tasers or roughly handcuff a man as he had claimed in a blog that received national and international attention this week.

"He lied," Police Chief Art Acevedo said Friday of Scott Henson, who wrote about the incident in his "Grits For Breakfast" blog. Acevedo showed the video to an American-Statesman reporter Friday.

Henson said Friday that after watching the video with Acevedo this week, he had made some errors in his blog but was still critical of officers' response.

"It happened in a flash and like many eyewitnesses, when under a perceived threat, my mind filled in some pieces erroneously," Henson said in an email.

Be a man for once in your life and admit you're a liar.

Anonymous said...

hahahahahahahahhahahhahaha

Anonymous said...

Charles Kuffner said...
Jesus, Scott. What an awful story. Can you file a formal complaint? Someone needs to be held accountable for this.


You should hold grits accountable, Kuffner.

Also, in his update, Scott continues to lie. In his post, he said officers had TASERS (plural) drawn.

Also, when you refuse to answer questions and walk away from the police, you look guilty. Idiot. Liar.

Anonymous said...

When i first read your story i was really angry at Apd. But now i dont understand why it appears as though you exaggerated and maybe lied about what happened to make youself out to be some sort of victim when you were not. And why, after you accuse them of racism, are you saying that that your first preference isthat they dont release video that they say defends themselves from being la elled racists. I dont understand... You want everyone to believe your post and not see the video??

Anonymous said...

Acevedo's "apology" http://www.citizenobserver.com/cov6/app/alert.html?id=24448&utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

tv said...

LAIR

F-Liar.

Take some personal responsibility you lying Dbag

You LIE to promote your blog agenda.

Nice made up "i got tasered" story.

But I am not to blame for LYING because I got caught up in the stressful moment...Your comment in the Austin Statesman...

I bet you have brown eyes for how full of sh** you are.

I GOT TASED..

You douchebagging liar.

Get a SACK and MAN UP. Apologize and OWN YOUR LIES.

Anonymous said...

Well Police Chief Acevedo says you're a LIAR and he has proof.

tom said...

Anyone still up for filing an official complaint now that the truth has come out. For once the cops did right. Thanks for waving the race flag..

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