Austin, TX – For renowned police critic and Grits for Breakfast blogger Scott Henson, it could have been so perfect. On the night in question, the very white Henson was walking his black 5-year-old granddaughter home through a park. Someone at the park called 911, alleging that a white man was chasing and attempting to kidnap a young black child. As you might expect, police swarmed the area, and that’s where the drama begins.
The following Saturday, the aggravated Henson took to the blog, crafting a hypercritical version of events titled, “Me, APD and ‘Babysitting While White,’ Part Deux”. He begins by linking the incident to a question posed on the blog previously: “Is babysitting while white reasonable suspicion for police questioning?” It’s every bit as reasonably suspicious as Driving While Black or Painting While Hispanic, if you ask me.
Henson describes being stopped by an officer who asked his granddaughter if she knew him. When she responded that it was her grandfather, the officer let them continue on their way. Just minutes later, however, as they crossed a street a mere two blocks from home, multiple squad cars appeared. Cops jumped out of their cars, tasers ready, and shouted at him to step away from the girl. When he complied, Henson says he was “roughly cuffed” shortly before witnessing another officer “brusquely snatching” his granddaughter up and placing her in the back seat of a car. Racial discrimination, police brutality and a traumatized child? Jackpot!
Naturally, the story gained national and even international attention as readers found themselves stunned by Henson’s claims. Enter the incredulous Austin Police Chief Acevedo, my new favorite police officer. Acevedo reviews the tapes and, sure enough, what he sees is a bit different from what Henson claims. Could it be? Would a beacon of accountability like Henson fabricate details to further a personal agenda?
Acevedo calls Henson’s bluff… Publicly. In a released statement, Acevedo sarcastically apologizes to Hansen “for not having 2,300 clairvoyants in the midst of the Austin Police Department,” and announces his plan to release the tapes, adding that he challenges Mr. Hanson “to show us where in the World he felt it was honest to write [the bit about the drawn tasers and roughing up].” Can you hear that? It’s the sound of Henson’s sphincter slamming shut. The Chief also discloses the e-mails he exchanged with Henson, in which Henson practically begs Acevedo not to release the tapes, citing “privacy concerns”.
Now that the tape has been made public, Henson’s in damage control mode, claiming, “It happened in a flash and like many eyewitnesses, when under a perceived threat, my mind filled in some pieces erroneously.” Heh, my sister does that. But, even she knows better than to lie about something that was caught on tape. Take a look for yourself. Do you see a blatant example of police misconduct? If so, you, too, may suffer from erroneous piece filling… And I would get that checked out, if I were you.