The mayor of Austin, Texas, drew sharp criticism for falling asleep during a memorial service for a fallen police officer on Monday. The incident put further strain on an already troubled relationship between the police department and the mayor.
The criticism rose against Democrat Mayor Steve Adler after an image of him appearing to have fallen asleep during the memorial service began making the rounds on social media.
The photo showed a slumping Adler with his chin to his chest and his eyes closed while the officials next to him appear to be paying attention to the service for the deceased officer.
The image was posted to Twitter by Texas Commission on Law Enforcement commissioner Justin Berry who blasted the mayor for showing “contempt and utmost disrespect towards the men and women of the Austin Police Department but also our families.”
“If you’re going to defund and destroy a police department as their mayor then attend a highly respected officer’s funeral, perhaps do not continue to disrespect that officer’s family, friends, and other officers by falling asleep,” Berry tweeted.
You have time and time again shown nothing but contempt and utmost disrespect towards the men and women of the Austin Police Department but also our families @MayorAdler
— Justin Berry (@realJustinBerry) October 3, 2022
The memorial service was to honor Austin police officer Tony Martin who died in a traffic accident while on his way home from work on Sept. 23 in Williamson County.
The photo brought wide condemnation for Mayor Adler, enough so that he later apologized. He did not, though, confirm whether he fell asleep in his apology.
“I want to express my deepest apologies to the family of Officer Martin,” Adler said in a statement, according to the Austin American-Statesman. “Officer Martin died 10 days ago and will forever be honored as a hero. This moment should be about him and his family, including his two daughters whose words today pierced my heart as a father. I hold Officer Martin in the highest regard. May his memory be a blessing to his family, and to the city he served.”
Adler took criticism from many directions. Thomas Villarreal, the department’s police association president, said that the photo of Adler at the memorial is unfortunate and distracts from the fallen officer’s legacy.
“Today’s memorial was a time to honor and pay respect to Officer Tony Martin and his family,” Villarreal said, according to the paper. “Unfortunately, the mayor’s actions distract from those underlying reasons for the memorial service. I have expressed my frustration directly to Steve and will deal with that issue at a later time. For now, I ask everyone to please keep Tony’s family in your prayers.”
Fox News contributor Leo Terrell also blasted Adler saying that the mayor’s actions showed his “disrespect for law enforcement.” Terrell also blasted Adler for being a “woke Democrat.”
“It shows the ultimate disrespect for law enforcement in the city of Austin. This guy is not a friend of law enforcement at all because he slashed the city budget. When it comes to law enforcement, police stipends. This man, this mayor is a woke Democrat,” Terrell said on “Fox & Friends” on Tuesday. “The sad part about the city of Austin – the city of Austin is the southern version of New York City. That city council does not support law enforcement. He is a reflection of that and there is no excuse for him to fall asleep at a one-hour memorial.
This is not the first time that Adler has been enmeshed in a controversy over the death of an Austin officer. Last year, when officer Andy Traylor died from injuries suffered in a car crash, the officer’s family asked Adler not to come to the funeral because of his past criticism of the Austin Police Dept. and his attempts to severely slash the department’s budget.
Adler had already become a focus of anger in 2020 for slashing the APD’s budget by $21 million, the Austin American-Statesman noted. That same year more police officers than ever died in the line of duty nationally.
Further putting the Austin Police Dept. in a bind, the City Council, led by Adler, also cut cadet training classes, an action that has left the department with around 200 vacancies it has been unable to fill, the paper said.
The Austin Police Department has been buffeted by left-wing operatives over the last few years. Not only did Adler slash their budget in 2020, but this year 19 officers who responded to the 2020 Black Lives Matter riots were charged with using “excessive force” by the self-avowed socialist and George Soros-backed Travis County district attorney, José Garza.
Austin Police Chief Joseph Chacon was “extremely disappointed” by Garza’s assault on the officers.
“As a department, we asked these officers to work under the most chaotic or circumstances in May of 2020 and to make split-second decisions to protect all participants,” Chacon said in his news conference, CBS Austin reported.
Adler continues to try and paint himself as a supporter of the police officers under his charge, but falling asleep during the memorial service of one of their own is a act that seems to have betrayed his real feelings for them.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.