Debbie Russell becomes a pariah in Austin

| April 12, 2012 | 41 Comments

On Sunday, we discussed Debbie Russell, sister of Cindy Sheehan when she insulted the entire city of Austin in the wake of the murder of officer Jamie Padron at a local WalMart. Russell wrote on her Facebook Wall about the incident; “Curiosity may have killed the cat, but ego killed the cop”. On a local radio show at KLBJ, the Todd and Don Show (podcast at this link on Wednesday and about 15 minutes into the show) they called her a “scum bag” with no apologies.

So I guess Russell, a member of the local school board is feeling the heat. She just dropped off a link to an apology of sorts in the comment thread where she embarrassed herself and several of her idiot friends;

Mea Culpa

I apologize for a recent statement made on my FaceBook page about “ego,” and it’s possible role in the recent death of an APD officer. My sincere regrets go to the community, the family, fellow officers and friends of Officer Padron – also to my many colleagues who were being asked to defend me or who stand in disappointment of me. My comment was not thoughtful, and the follow up context in which I had hoped explained it further was lost in the fray. But I take responsibility for that, as the initial statement reflected the very thing I was condemning: my ego.

Words matter, and my words matter more than I realized – and social media is WAY more powerful than I realized (my concurrent comments to the press never spoke to the officer’s death; merely Ahmede Bradley’s-see below). I shirked my responsibility as a community activist in not taking this into consideration first.

I regret increasing the conflict, when normally I pride myself on encouraging conflict resolution.

Live and learn.

Please know I spoke only on behalf of myself. Not on behalf of any organization or board I sit on and NO ONE should have to answer for me BUT me. I hope some out there will now stop using my words against organizations I’m affiliated with, as that is entirely unfair.

Tragedy breeds more pain. How we react to it is a testament and/or an indictment of our humanity. I am not proud of the words I used, no matter how “right” I believe my sentiment to be. I admit my mistake and ask for forgiveness of my lack of judgment as I strive to improve myself as an activist…as a human.

My point, if it matters at this juncture, was to search for a common thread between the two adjacent deaths in an attempt to prevent further deaths and in an attempt to make sense of the senseless coincidence. In the Bradley shooting, it seems pretty clear to me and much of the community (and I’m understanding even many officers), that the foot chase was in violation of APD policy. Chief Acevedo changed the foot pursuit policy in 2008 to avoid this very thing.

I extended that thought process to the Wal-Mart incident, because as I understood it, the shooter didn’t pull out his gun until he first tried to flee, and Officer Padron jumped on him to subdue him. I posited that if he allowed him to flee the store, it may have lessened the danger. In my comments, I didn’t contextualize what we all know to be true: things happen fast and split decisions are easy to question in hindsight. Padron simply didn’t know he was dealing with an armed individual. This has to be an officer’s worst nightmare scenario.

Amy Donovan was our last officer to die in the line of duty (in 2004)–and she was pursuing a suspected drug user. This is a major reason the Chief, upon DOJ’s recommendation, changed the policy. Non-violent crimes shouldn’t be met with force that amplifies the chance for injury or death. I readily admit we don’t have enough information yet on the Wal-Mart incident to pass thorough judgment, and in that, I failed. I also failed in first relaying my condolences – which are sincere, despite former appearances.

Just as I never intended to put blame on Officer Padron, I do not blame Officer Donovan for what is a matter of instinct – a matter of expectations in policing – of “getting your man” despite all risks. This is not policy, this is not training; yet there is pressure amongst the ranks that I hope becomes a point of discussion for further changes….just as the community needs to have its own discussions about interfacing with police and reacting as a community to police abuse.

My biggest regret, beyond any pain I’ve caused others, in this is that I made the same mistake I’ve often accused Chief Acevedo of…of speaking too soon, and of –however unintentionally– laying blame on the victim in doing so. Immediately following the Sanders, Contreras and Carter shootings, the Chief did just that…and never apologized for it.

It’s been proven in expert discovery and the independent KeyPoint report (backed by both the first Internal Affairs report and the Citizens Review Panel recommendation) that there was no struggle for a gun before Sanders was shot; there wasn’t time…yet the Chief said it “appeared to be a good shooting” hours following the death. The Chief said hours after the Contreras death, before having watched the video, that Devin shot first…that didn’t happen. The Chief said hours after the Carter death “they used the car as a weapon” which was belied by the lack of an indictment against the driver. He has said about the Carter and Bradley shootings that “people shouldn’t run from the police,” which sends a message that it is their fault they were shot and killed.

I offer these parallels not as an excuse…but as a point to say that “in this matter, I’ve been a hypocrite.” I jumped to a conclusion and put it out there publicly before waiting for facts. Yes, my comments have taken on a life of their own – and I’m being quoted as saying things I’ve not said, such as: “it’s Padron’s fault he was killed.” I would never say that, any more than the Chief would outright say that about a victim of police shooting. But it shouldn’t stop either of us questioning preventative measures, even though neither of us like hearing the other say it.

My intention was to start a dialog, even knowing I didn’t have all the facts yet. My intention was not malicious – it was to question the culture we live in and the culture of policing, in an attempt to prevent more deaths.

My intention was to understand what we did know about the police shooting…why Officer Padron was the sole responder, what might have gone differently if back up had arrived concurrent to his response…if the gun would have appeared had he not tried to subdue him in the store. I know these are hard questions immediately following. I know many feel “it’s too soon,” but I think immediacy is important to prevent another similar tragedy. I won’t apologize for asking those questions, but I do wholeheartedly apologize for the words I chose in that one forum.

I understand many people will never forgive or forget. I can only ask that people focus less attention on me, and my thoughtlessness, and more on the dialog around the need to improve our pubic safety practices such that no one dies before their time.

I never got to meet Officer Padron, and have only heard good things about him and his time on the force. My heart goes out to all who were touched by this loss. I value all life equally. I recognize that I didn’t exhibit that last Saturday when I posted the statement in my exhaustion and heightened emotion.

These adjacent deaths put a strain on us all. Austin wasn’t prepared for this. Our collective selves are still in shock. We look at the pain around us, from wars abroad to our recession; from the Zimmerman case to here at home, and wonder if something is spinning out of our control. I think once we step back, we’ll see this is not the case – that this horrific coincidence was just that – a coincidence.

We can’t control everything around us…we can’t account for the insanity of a few (except for where we fail in social services), so when I speak loudly about police abuse on others, some see it as a lack of empathy for the police perspective. I don’t lack that empathy, but there are plenty of voices to speak to that. In my attempt to control the one thing we should have some control over— public safety officials …as we pay their salaries; as they take an oath to serve and protect…I hastily jumped to find an answer to why a second death came upon our community in one night.

I am open to respond to individual questions on this matter and appreciate any input on how to move forward.

Again, my apologies to those I’ve brought pain to…including to Chief Acevedo, who, apart from the families and friends of the deceased, is experiencing probably the most distress from the respective fall out of the combined traumatic events.

In community, Debbie Russell

Yeah, I think she was in danger of losing her seat on the school board and probably the only job she’s ever had that didn’t involve hot water and dish detergent. I don’t accept her apology – if she hadn’t meant it, she wouldn’t have said it and then defended herself and sent her friends in to do verbal battle with us. Debbie, kindly GFY.

Category: Shitbags

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  1. NHSparky says:

    Sorry Debbie, too little, too late. You can’t unring the bell.

  2. Claymore says:

    This is what I got out of what she wrote:

    “I’m sorry I jumped to conclusions and said a bunch of stupid shit that appears to have gotten me in trouble, but other people do it too and I was worked up over something else. So, basically I’m sorry, but I had a good excuse. Don’t fire me.”

  3. Spade says:

    tl;dr

    If your apology takes that many words you are doing something very wrong. Plus, apologies just mean you’re admitting to screwing up. If you were a good person you wouldn’t need to do it in the first place.

    “I hope some out there will now stop using my words against organizations I’m affiliated with, as that is entirely unfair.”

    Lie down with dogs, wake up with fleas. I’d keep using your words against them until they disassociate themselves.

  4. Dave says:

    Lady (and I use the term loosely) – it is obvious you are trying your hardest not to apologize. Take about 10 words, admit you said something really wrong. And learn that when you set yourself as a leader in an arganization, you ALWAYS are responsible for what you say, and by extension so is the organization. If you can’t handle that, quit.

    By the way, if you HAD ever served, you would have learned that a long time ago.

  5. PintoNag says:

    Woman, you were writing an apology, not giving an acceptance speech. You could have done in right in four sentences. You mucked it up in about 20 PARAGRAPHS. You REALLY need to learn when to STOP TALKING.

  6. PintoNag says:

    “…done (it) right in…”

    Sorry.

  7. Hondo says:

    The Apology, According to Debbie Russel
    (A Comedy in Three Steps)

    Step 1 (original article): Open mouth, insert foot.
    Step 2: Catch heat from all for being an idiot.
    Step 3 (apology): Repeat step 1.

    Somehow, I think “Little Debbie” here kinda screwed up step 3. Don’t think that’s quite how it’s supposed to go.

  8. OWB says:

    Has anyone copyrighted this:

    Play stupid games, win stupid prizes?

    It certainly applies to this crazy witch. And her family. And her friends. And associates.

  9. Heath Carpenter says:

    Scumbag. This woman is trash, absolute trash.

  10. Debbie Russell says:

    That’s funny. I’m not in danger of losing my seat on the school board or any other position I hold in the community. I didn’t do this “because I feel the heat.” I did this because I reflected on it and it was the right thing to do. I certainly am not apologizing because a bunch of folks on a blog are calling me nasty names…I listen to those who I trust and who treat me with respect.

    You know NOTHING about me–yet make extraordinary assumptions about me. You’ve put falsehoods out about me already and somehow, found amusement in slamming me further for my apology.

    Wow. I feel very bad for you (and a few of your classy friends here).

  11. PintoNag says:

    You don’t like what we’ve said about you, Ms. Russell?

    This is not the kitchen to stand in, if you can’t take the heat.

  12. James says:

    Yah… this isn’t touchy feely land where we care more about the per instead of the vic… where we think the perp only did it because he was oppressed or a victim of somebody else, so he should be allowed to get away with it.

    This is responsibility land… a meritocracy where you live by what you have done…

  13. AW1 Tim says:

    “Leadership by Example”. It’s what our side of the fence does.

  14. OWB says:

    Yep. Typical. Act like a fool, then get your feelings hurt because someone observes correctly that you are acting like a fool.

    Be sure to criticise us, while you are at it, because we listen to those who we trust and who treat us with respect. Given what you have said about honorable people publicly, it is difficult to believe that you talk about us kindly privately. Which is your right.

    You know, because we served to preserve that right for you.

    You’re welcome. (Oops – you didn’t thank us for that, but you’re welcome anyway.)

  15. 211Avenger says:

    So basically, her apology was as worthless as a 1942 Reichsmark. I also gather that she advocates allowing suspects to flee from a scene and the police letting them go. I do understand the guidelines that were put forth by the APD regarding footchases, but it seems to me she is saying the moment the suspect turns around and flees, they are allowed to get away scot free. Is this what everyone else is getting?

  16. Instinct says:

    Debbie, it seems all you do is ‘feel’ because you sure as hell don’t actually THINK.

    And if that’s what you call an apology – well, you’re doing it wrong.

  17. UpNorth says:

    Avenger, she also doesn’t feel that resisting arrest is an offense worthy of pursuit. After all, “The question here is, is fleeing, or “resisting arrest” – almost always a misdemeanor offense – “criminal activity”? You can’t make this shit up. For her info, until you catch the one fleeing, you don’t really know if what he fled from was a traffic stop, a burglary or a murder.
    What she’s advocating is exactly what the apologists for criminals want, turn, flee, home free.
    As for the “apology”, like Instinct said, you’re doing it wrong.

  18. Yat Yas 1833 says:

    Debbie, you pig eyed bitch. My sister is with the Phoenix Police Department and she has put her ass on the line for ungrateful people just like you. I can only hope you need PD one day and they wait for back-up before responding to your call for help.

  19. Miss Ladybug says:

    Just talking to the fiance about this. He said she’s running for re-election unopposed and it is too late for anyone else to try running against her. She also wanted to spend taxpayer money on a funeral for Leslie, the weird guy who ran around Austin wearing women’s underwear (among other things).

  20. NHSparky says:

    Debbie…I’m watching the news as I post on my phone. A druggie is currently holed up in a house in a town about 20 miles away from me after he killed one police officer and wounded four more who were trying to serve a warrant.

    Go ahead and pile on. I fucking dare you.

  21. brian michaels says:

    I’ll be very brief. SCUMBAG.

  22. Exeter says:

    The lady claimed in the first post’s comments that she’s not Cindy Sheehan’s sister and she didn’t play sockpuppets in that thread, though she managed to find this blog and post in its comments.

  23. AmyMac says:

    “You only listen to those you trust?” Guess what? So do I and honey, you’re not one of them.

  24. Proud wife & mother says:

    Unfair to associate you and your uneducated, ignorant comments with your publicly affiliated associates!?!?!?! HERE IS WHAT IS UNFAIR!!! Officer Padron will NEVER see either of his girls grow up. They will never get a hug, a kiss on the forehead, nor a spoken “I love you” from their father. Do you think they thought for a single minute that it would be the last time they told their daddy “good night” or that the “see you in the morning” would never come? Of course you didn’t. You have no idea how that feels. Not only do you not have a brain, you lack heart, leadership, and a backbone.
    Now sleep well, Debbie Russell, and know that the very same police force you so quickly and ignorantly judge and criticize are standing watch to keep all of us safe. Even if it means giving their life for ours.

  25. hfm says:

    id iot + to ols = idiot fools

    I.e.: deb & her chums

  26. EdTom says:

    Debbie Russell — “You know NOTHING about me–yet make extraordinary assumptions about me. You’ve put falsehoods out about me already and somehow, found amusement in slamming me further for my apology.”
    Seriously? Getting upset (do I sense a tear?) because people “know NOTHING” about you and then make assumptions? What the hell did you do in your post about Officer Padron? What do YOU do EVERY DAY you open your mouth against law and order? YOU make generalizations and snap decisions about others all the time! It is what your job description entails, apparently. You have, in one single facebook post, summed up your entire, pathetic career. You are not out of justice. You are out for yourself. Your place in life depends on drumming up anger and hatred. If a criminal runs from the police in my neighborhood, I damn well expect the cops to catch him. As a citizen I expect the officers who work for the citizens to put bad people in jail AND to go home at the end of their shift. If some drug selling crook fights with a cop and lives are on the line, I do not expect the police officer to be the one to die. YOU are a regrettable person, Debbie. Your priorities are “whack”. The ACLU should be ashamed of you and it’s association with you.

  27. Proud wife & mother says:

    Amen.

  28. Spade says:

    “You know NOTHING about me”

    Yeah, we do. We know you like it when cops get killed.

  29. PowerPoint Ranger says:

    People like her are why I hate most school boards. They seem to be a magnet for people with some sort of degree and zero common sense or self-awareness. I know it’s a stretch, but can the 10-12 sane people in Austin make it a point to give her some opposition the next time her little sinecure comes up for reaffirmation?

  30. streetsweeper says:

    I bet that when she needs those cops to come to her rescue, she’ll be loud and proud about it for a few seconds and then…

  31. UpNorth says:

    Streets, no matter the response time, she’ll bitch because the cops didn’t show up sooner. And, if the guy who broke in, or broke her window, or ripped off her car flees, she’ll go apeshit if the cops don’t pursue.

  32. PintoNag says:

    …and if they pursue her stolen car, and if her car is wrecked by the perp, she’ll sue the COPS, not the PERP, because the car got wrecked.

  33. UpNorth says:

    Of course, PN, because the poor, mis-understood ute, who’s just a product of his environment, was scared by the big, mean po-lice.
    Years back, we had one of our idiot “community activists” write to the local fishwrap that he’d witnessed another ute fight with the po-lice, because the officers were so much bigger than the ute, it was only natural that he’d fight, because he was scared. I still can’t wrap my head around that supposed logic. But, I’ll bet Debbie can.

  34. Anonymous says:

    Debbie, please wash your mouth out…… With buckshot.

  35. Grip says:

    I wont argue with a moron. I have learned you cant win. I’ll just take this time to honor a hero because I cant do it enough. To do so I’ll repeat the most beautiful comment made at the funeral for Officer Padron.

    “Death never has the last word. We grieve the fact that one member of the line has fallen. But looking closely you can see, there is no break in the thin blue line. Jaimes law enforcement family has closed ranks. The line is secure.”-Chaplain Randall of the Austin Police Department.

    And I’ll add:
    It takes the death of one of my Brothers or Sisters for the world to get a brief glimpse of the honor and tradition my professions bestows. I am a part of the great fraternity in the entire world! I love all my Brothers and Sisters in this, the greatest profession. Stay safe! Godspeed Officer Padron. Saint Michael guide you home. We’ll take it from here.

  36. PintoNag says:

    That was magnificent, Grip. Thank you for sharing that.

  37. OWB says:

    And that is the sort of maturity that the spoiled children will never understand. Their only hope comes the day they choose to become adults. Until then, they are simply always seeking relief for their baser instincts and thus are of no use to the civilized world.

    God speed, Officer Padron.

  38. Anonymous 2 says:

    Debbie really unfair for you to e the ego in the same sentence with Officer Padron. He was simply doing a job your btch ass refused to do. This Officer was trying to protect everyone in Wal Mart when the douchebag fled. It was unknown to Officer Padron if this intoxicated fck posed any threat towards the public. You should crawl in a fcking hole and get covered up. God forbid something terrible happens to you or your family and the suspect flees, wouldn’t want an Officers ego to get in his way and pursue him. You are pathetic for even saying what you said. Appology not accepted! SMH!!!

  39. Star Umbra says:

    Ms Russell is not a very compassionate or insiteful woman. But then the posts on this blog are not compassionate either.
    From reading Ms Russell’s blog and seeing her on TV it seems that she makes up her mind before the facts are available.
    After reading this blog, it appears that many people here are doing the same thing but from the other side of the mirror.
    When people call Ms Russell names, they are doing the same thing to her that she is doing to the cops. Do you not see this?
    Step back and take a breath; she believes every cop in every situation is wrong. The people on this blog believe everything Ms Russell does is wrong.
    Mistakes have been made by APD officers; officers get into situations that appear routine but turn out to be more than the officer expected and must react or die. I am sure every officer involved in an incident in which a civilian is killed or injured second-guesses himself and they carry that burden with them always.
    I thank God every day that I live in Austin, where APD will ask for outside investigations in order to keep things ‘clean’. Some places, LA, Dallas, Houston- have really bad police departments and little oversite. Ms Russell will, one hopes, realize that cops are human. We live in a city where cops can be fired for inappropriate behavior. For the ones who follow the rules, we should all be grateful.

  40. Fed-up says:

    Too bad that her comments are very close to the truth. Power is such a addiction! Misuse of this substance creates a monster whose judgement is impaired. That is why this obnoxious behavior results in unnecessary violence. The idea of the title “peace officer” is ludicrous. Until these “bad boy”
    behaviors are no longer tolerated, respect for this “gottach club” is not deserved.

    These comments come from a squeaky clean person, only 2 speeding tickets in my lifetime of 70 years, retired educator.

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