Oct 4, 2022 - News

Austin mayor apologizes after he's accused of sleeping at cop funeral

Mayor Steve Adler

Austin Mayor Steve Adler speaking at a conference in June. Austin Mayor Steve Adler, speaking at a conference in June. Photo: Jordan Vonderhaar/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Austin Mayor Steve Adler apologized Monday after he was accused of falling asleep at a memorial service for an Austin police officer.

Why it matters: The episode is sure to deepen the conflict between rank-and-file police and City Hall.

Details: Police officer Tony Martin died last month in an off-duty motorcycle crash.

What they're saying: "I want to express my deepest apologies to the family of Officer Martin," Adler said in a written statement to the 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."

The other side: "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," Justin Berry, an Austin office police officer and former Republican political candidate, wrote about Adler on Twitter.

Between the lines: Following the 2020 protests, Adler and the Austin City Council cut $21 million from the police department's budget — though the funding was later restored.

  • In July 2021, per the American-Statesman, after Austin police officer Andy Traylor died from injuries suffered in a car crash, his wife asked Adler not to come to the funeral.
  • Adler had called for a moment of silence to honor Martin's death at a recent Austin City Council meeting, the Statesman reported.

What's next: Adler has reached his term limit, and will not run for re-election. Voters will be asked to decide on his replacement in November.

  • Monday's events put policing squarely back in the center of the political discussion.

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