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’Choose sides’: Acevedo calls on politicians to act on gun legislation

Union calls remarks ‘offensive and inappropriate’

HOUSTON – Houston police Chief Art Acevedo vented his frustrations with politicians and their stances on gun legislation after one of his sergeants was killed in the line of duty during the weekend.

Sgt. Christopher Brewster, 32, was gunned down Saturday in east Houston while confronting a suspect in a domestic violence incident.

Investigators said a woman called to report that she was being assaulted by her boyfriend, who was armed with two guns. The boyfriend shot and killed Brewster when the sergeant found the couple walking down the street, investigators said.

Acevedo spoke to the media Monday outside the Harris County Medical Examiner’s Office before officers escorted Brewster’s body to a funeral home.

The chief criticized Texas’ two Republican U.S. senators and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel (R-Kentucky) for failing to act on the Violence Against Women Act, which was passed by the U.S. House in April and has been sitting on the Senate’s legislative calendar ever since.

Acevedo said the bill calls for the removal of weapons from a person who abuses their partner or spouse. He said Republican politicians are afraid to act on the legislation because of the National Rifle Association.

“The NRA doesn’t like the fact that we want to take firearms out of the hands of boyfriends that abuse their girlfriends, and who killed our sergeant? A boyfriend abusing his girlfriend,” Acevedo said. “So you’re either for women and children and our daughters and our sisters and our aunts, or you’re here for the NRA.”

Acevedo, who was clearly emotional about the death of one of his officers, said politicians should worry more about the lives of people who are gunned down every day in America and less about the gun lobby.

“Start caring about cops, children and women and everyday gun violence,” he said.

Acevedo said the issue of dealing with gun violence is not a partisan one. He said politicians shouldn’t let politics get in the way of solving the problem.

“You’re not a Republican. You’re not a Democrat. You’re not a conservative. You’re not a liberal. You’re not a progressive. You are an American and American blood is being shed every day in this community, throughout this nation,” Acevedo said. “Do something about it or retire.”

The chief said he doesn’t want Brewster’s sacrifice to be in vain.

“Choose sides,” Acevedo said. “It’s right and wrong, and it’s not that complicated.”

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said agents are conducting an investigation of the guns involved in Brewster’s death to determine the origin and legal status of the weapons.

‘Neither the time nor the place’: Union calls Acevedo’s gun legislation remarks offensive

The union representing Houston police officers called Acevedo’s remarks “offensive and inappropriate.”

KPRC 2 Investigates obtained a message that was sent to members of the Houston Police Officers’ Union after Acevedo’s emotional news conference. In it, the union’s executive board said Acevedo should focus on running the nation’s fifth-largest police department instead of “misplaced activism.”

“There is a time and place for every discussion and this was neither the time nor the place,” the union’s message read. “We are all grieving for Chris and the focus should be on him and his family and not on the Chief’s agenda.”

The message ends by saying the letter was being sent only to membership because the board was not “interested in taking anymore attention away from Sgt Brewster and his family, as the Chief already has.”

The union’s entire message follows:

This image shows a message that was sent to membership of the Houston Police Officers' Union on Dec. 9, 2019.
This image shows a message that was sent to membership of the Houston Police Officers' Union on Dec. 9, 2019. (KPRC)

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