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Texas lieutenant governor calls police after relative's arrest

Aug. 22, 2013 at 11:11 AM   |   Comments

AUSTIN, Texas, Aug. 22 (UPI) -- Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst's call to police concerning a relative's release from jail prompted outrage from his rival, who accused him of abusing his power.

On Wednesday, police released the 12-minute Dewhurst, a Republican in office since 2003, called the Allen Police Department Aug. 3 to seek the release of a relative jailed on a shoplifting charge whom he described as a "sister-in-law" and a "step-niece-in-law" at different points during the call, ABC News reported Thursday.

After he identified himself, Dewhurst, who is seeking re-election in 2014, can be heard asking a sergeant what he had to do obtain his relative's release. The officer can be heard telling Dewhurst the case was with Collin County authorities and he could do nothing.

"I am, every year, the No. 1 pick of all of the law enforcement agencies within Texas," Dewhurst tells the officer. "You don't know it, but I'm a supporter of you and a supporter of everybody in law enforcement."

Dewhurst kept asking what he had to do to get the relative out of police custody. The police officer explained the procedure again, and provided him with the number to Collin County, where the relative was going to be transferred.

Dewhurst asked for the officer's supervisor's phone number, but the officer said he wasn't authorized to give it out, ABC News said.

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

Allen County Police Department Sgt. Jon Felty told ABC News Dewhurst did "nothing wrong" and "did not threaten anyone."

However, the call drew criticism from Dewhurst's main GOP challenger for lieutenant governor, state Sen. Dan Patrick.

"The fact that David Dewhurst believes he and his family are above the law is the height of arrogance and recklessness," Patrick said. "This blatant abuse of power would be stunning coming from any elected official."

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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