Austin Mayor Steve Adler is accused of sleeping at a police officer’s funeral
Austin Mayor Steve Adler has apologized to the family of a deceased police officer after he was accused of falling asleep during a funeral honoring the officer who died in an off-duty motorcycle accident last month.
Adler expressed regret after an Austin police officer posted a photo online showing him with his eyes closed and his head seemingly resting on his chest during the memorial service for police officer Anthony Martin.
Adler and the Austin Police Department have a strained relationship, due in part to a budget cut signed by the mayor and other city council members in 2020 before it was later restored, the Austin American-Statesman reported.
“If you, as the mayor, disappoint and destroy a police department and then attend the funeral of a well-respected officer, perhaps you shouldn’t continue to disrespect that officer’s family, friends and others by falling asleep.” tweeted Justin Berry, who is an Austin police officer and former GOP candidate for state seat.
“You have consistently shown nothing but contempt and utter disrespect to the men and women of the Austin Police Department, as well as to our families,” added Berry, who is also an officer with the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement.
In a statement to Fox News Digital, Adler neither confirmed nor denied that he slept during the service.
“I would like to sincerely apologize to Officer Martin’s family. Officer Martin died 10 days ago and will forever be honored as a hero,” Adler told Fox News.
“This moment should be about him and his family, including his two daughters, whose words today pierced my heart as a father.
“I respect Officer Martin very much. May his memory be a blessing to his family and the city he served.”
The service began at 11 a.m. and lasted about an hour, the Austin American-Statesman reported.
Thomas Villarreal, chief of the Austin Police Association, told the newspaper the mayor’s actions distracted from honoring Martin.
“I have expressed my frustration directly to Steve and will address this issue at a later date,” he said. “Right now I’m asking everyone to keep Tony’s family in your prayers.”
The Austin City Council voted to cut $150 million from the police department’s budget when the Defund the Police movement was at its peak, with an attempt to increase the budget by $20 million immediately in 2020 cut, the Texas Tribune reported at the time.
Fox News reported that the city was forced to reverse those cuts after the Texas state legislature passed legislation.
Martin was killed in an accident on his way home from a night shift when a vehicle made a left turn on the freeway in front of Martin’s motorcycle, the Texas Department of Public Safety said, according to Fox 7.
The investigation into the crash is ongoing, Fox News reported.
According to the American-Statesman, Martin began his career with the Austin Police Department in 2006 after serving in the Air Force for two decades.
Adler previously requested a minute’s silence at last Thursday’s city council meeting and offered the city’s support in a conversation with Martin’s widow, the newspaper reported.
“On the officer’s family, we join you and the entire force in mourning the loss of your colleague,” Adler reportedly said.