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Criticism, Support For Dewhurst After Police Call To Help Relative

NORTH TEXAS (CBS 11 NEWS) - It's a call that gained more attention than Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst may have ever expected.

After Allen police arrested his step-niece, Ellen Bevers, for shoplifting earlier this month, Dewhurst personally called the police department to help her.

In the phone call, released by the police department Wednesday afternoon, Mr. Dewhurst is heard saying, "I want to talk to the most senior officer you have where you are right now. My name is David Dewhurst, and I'm the Lt. Governor of the State of Texas."

After a Sergeant got on the phone, the Lt. Governor mentioned he could have the head of DPS call to vouch for him, but Mr. Dewhurst didn't ask for any special treatment. He asked the Sergeant, "If you would explain to me Sgt. What I need to do to arrange to get her out of jail this evening, so you can proceed with whatever you think is proper."

  • Listen to audio from David Dewhurst call

911 call made by Texas Lieutenant Governor

Cathie Adams, former Texas Republican Party Chair, says while Mr. Dewhurst didn't think his call through, "I was sad for him because I know the man.  I know why he was doing it. One of his family members called him, he was trying to be kind, he was trying to be responsive."

But his two Republican challengers in next year's Lt. Governor's Race attacked Dewhurst. In a tweet, state Agriculture commissioner Todd Staples compared Dewhurst with Ron Bergundy, a character from the hit movie Anchorman.

State Senator Dan Patrick, in Fort Worth today criticized Dewhurst too. Patrick said, "Everyone would be concerned about a relative in jail, but when you're the lieutenant governor or a state senator or any elected official, you don't make the call. You just hire a lawyer. You tell the lawyer to do the best they can to address the situation not to drop your name and use the power of your office."

But political analyst and veteran campaign manager John Weekley says Dewhurst's political opponents need to be careful about criticizing him.  "He was trying to help out a relative of his and this is Texas, and the South, and people really appreciate other family members trying to help family members. It's part of our culture."

Dewhurst isn't talking for now.

On Wednesday night, a spokesman issued this statement:

"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." -- Travis Considine, Spokesperson For Lt. Governor David Dewhurst

Ellen Bevers
Ellen Bevers mugshot. (credit: Allen Police Dept.)

As for Bevers, she has now been formally charged with theft more than $50 and less than $500, a class B misdemeanor. If found guilty of the crime she could be punished with up to 180 days in jail and a $2,000 fine. No one came to the door when a CBS 11 news crew stopped by her house Thursday.

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