Amid city hall’s harmful decisions and a two-year public safety disaster in Texas’ capital city, Austin Mayor Steve Adler is now trying to deny his own words.
In a recent television interview, Adler accused the head of a pro-public safety PAC of lying about his comments on abolishing police. The PAC replied with a copy of the original audio of Adler’s words, and the audio speaks for itself.
The contretemps began when Matt Mackowiak, cofounder of the Save Austin Now citizen group, told local station KVUE, “Keep in mind, our mayor has said he wants to get to a day where we have no police at all. He said that publicly.”
When asked to reply on the live interview, Adler asserted: “Well, like so much of this stuff that [Mackowiak] is saying now, that’s absolutely not true. I’ve never said that.”
Unfortunately for Adler, his own words indict him.
Following Adler’s on-air claim, Save Austin Now released audio from the March 25, 2021, Austin City Council meeting, where Adler said he “eagerly hopes” for the day when there’s no police.
“There could be a day when we don’t need police, and I eagerly hope for the day when we get there, but that day isn’t today,” Adler said. “Yet, again, there is no city in the country that is doing more than Austin in reimagining public safety.”
Adler’s comments and subsequent denial come after he and the Democrat-run Austin City Council defunded the Austin Police Department by up to $150 million (one-third of their budget) last year. This eroded the department’s staffing, suspended police cadet classes, and forced numerous police units—such as DWI, family violence safety and stalking, and criminal interdiction—to disband.
The APD chief recently said the department is in a “dire situation,” with a growing wave of officers leaving the force, 911 response times becoming “dramatically slower,” and an estimate of hundreds of vacant officer positions.
Meanwhile, on the streets of Austin, violent crime and homicides have exploded to record highs since last year.
Citizens responded to Adler’s latest remarks.
“There might be a day we don’t need doctors, should we fire 1/3 of them now to find out,” one individual tweeted.
“I [feel] like the more damning quote is saying that ‘no city is doing more to reimagine policing,’ while crime and murder are skyrocketing,” another wrote.
“Delusional utopian mindset. Someone with such a fundamental misunderstanding of human behavior should not have such a large portion of responsibility for the public safety of millions of people living in Austin,” another posted. “Vote him out Austinites. Wake up.”
Austinites will vote this fall on a ballot question, placed on the election by Save Austin Now’s petition campaign, to restore police staffing and enact some reforms within the department. Details will be forthcoming in the next few weeks.