City News

Former police chief Art Acevedo seemingly blames Austin for Houston unrest

Former police chief Art Acevedo blames Austin for Houston unrest

Art Acevedo houston police chief
Art Acevedo had some harsh words for Austin, his former home, this week. Photo courtesy of Houston Police Department

Art Acevedo, Austin's former police chief, had some harsh criticism for his old hometown. In a June 2 video, the current Houston police chief takes aim at Austin diversity while also seemingly blaming the city's residents for inciting violence in Houston. 

The footage was captured by NBC News national investigative reporter Mike Hixenbaugh last night in downtown Houston. In it, Acevedo can be seen on a megaphone talking to a group of people gathered to protest police brutality and the death of George Floyd. 

Acevedo makes the comments while protestors are audibly asking the chief to release video of six people recently shot by Houston police. 

"I plead with you, [Houston] is the most diverse city in the United States. This isn't Austin, Texas, where they're diverse as long as they're on the east side of 35," said the police chief. "This is Houston, Texas. And for the people of Austin who want to come here and tear shit up, you're in the wrong fucking city."

A Houston Police Department Public Information Officer was unable to give more context for the chief's comments. CultureMap is submitting an open records request for demographic details on the arrests made in Houston.

It's unclear from the series of videos how Acevedo gets the megaphone, but he uses it to take another shot at Austin. "I know there are people here from Austin yelling at me and stuff from Austin, but I'm here to tell you, you ain't in Austin," Acevedo says. "You are in Houston. You are in H-Town."

"One of the things I know is I've been coming here my whole life," he continues. "We may fight, we may be angry at each other, but we know that when all these fucking people come out here from the outside trying to tear this shit up while the rest of the country's burning. Nothing's burning in Houston."

"Don't let anybody hijack this movement," he later adds.

Austin Police said Chief Brian Manley was not immediately available to comment. 

Acevedo served as Austin police chief for nine years before taking the top job in Houston in 2016. He grew up in California, according to his HPD biography, and began his career in law enforcement in 1986 with the California Highway Patrol.