ALLEN The Allen Police Department on Wednesday released a recording of a 12-minute call placed on August 3 by Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst. One of the most powerful politicians in the State of Texas was seeking the release of a relative who had been arrested on a shoplifting charge.
The issue revolved around a woman who Dewhurst identified as his "step-niece-in-law" who was jailed for allegedly walking out of an Allen Kroger store with $57 worth of merchandise that hadn't been paid for.
Ellen Bevers, a 46-year-old first grade teacher, had been arrested at 6:30 p.m. Dewhurst called a non-emergency police line four hours later, around 10:30 p.m.
- LISTEN: Dewhurst call to Allen PD
"This is David Dewhurst, and I'm the lieutenant governor of the State of Texas," he tells the dispatcher, who forwarded the call to a police department sergeant.
"What do I need to do to arrange for getting her out of jail this evening?" Dewhurst asks the police officer.
The officer explains that the case is now in the hands of Collin County authorities and there's nothing he can do to expedite the woman's release.
"I am, every year, the number-one 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 law enforcement."
Dewhurst repeatedly asks what he needs to do to get the woman out of jail, and is politely instructed by the Allen police officer to call the sheriff's office.
"This is ridiculous," Dewhurst says. "This lady, in my mind, is 100 percent innocent, and it's just an unfortunate situation of circumstances."
On several occasions, Dewhurst says the commander of the Texas Department of Public Safety will be calling to follow up on his inquiry.
"We don't decide guilt or innocence," the police sergeant calmly explains to the lieutenant governor, who then asked for the phone number of the sergeant's supervisor and of the Collin County judge and sheriff. The sergeant declined both requests.
Allen Police Department spokesman Sgt. Jon Felty said every department policy was followed.
"Our procedure was followed to the letter, nothing was done that should not have been done. No favors granted, anything of that nature," he said.
Felty also commended the officer who spoke with Dewhurst. "He handled it professionally. He knew who he was talking to, obviously, and he didn't handle it any different than he would have for any other citizen for the state of Texas."
The shoplifting case, which Allen police described as a Class C misdemeanor, has not been resolved.
Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa released a written statement Wednesday night critical of Dewhurst's phone call.
Once again Lt. Gov. Dewhurst has shown that he thinks he is beyond the rules and laws that govern regular Texans," Hinojosa said. "His call to police shows a clear attempt to use his political position for influence, intimidation, and preferential treatment."
Earlier this month, Dewhurst announced his intention to run for re-election.