Photo: Protesters outside APD headquarters holding banner that says “Abusive Pigs Deserve to Die! Women Hold Up Half the Sky!”
By Dmitri Sans
On Friday, dozens of people led by revolutionary organization Popular Women’s Movement-Movimiento Femenino Popular (PWM-MFP) protested outside Austin Police Department’s (APD) headquarters less than a week after police lieutenant Dustin Lee was jailed on charges of sexually abusing his own daughter. A pig head hoisted on a pole was held over a banner that read, “Abusive Pigs Deserve to Die! Women Hold Up Half the Sky!”
Lee’s daughter came forward earlier this month, accusing her father of molesting her every week since she was a toddler. She told police that she was motivated to break the cycle of normalized abuse out of concern that Lee may have been abusing others.
The child molester remains on APD’s payroll despite being in jail with a $150,000 bail. Before his arrest, Lee had overseen the Downtown Area Command, a post he had been promoted to after years of appeal over another incident of sexual harassment in 2008. “Not only does APD protect abusers – they reward and promote them,” a speaker at the protest said.
As several police officers watched from a parking lot across the street, protesters held signs demanding Lee’s dismissal and condemning APD for protecting a pedophile. The headquarters sits at the intersection of 8th Street and Interstate Highway 35, where petit-bourgeois bar-hoppers and concert attendees regularly cross homeless encampments under the bridge. Masked supporters handed out Incendiary’s September 13 article on Lee, and drivers honked their horns and raised their fists in solidarity.
After receiving the article, one passerby named Grey raised his fist and yelled, “Fuck the cops!” He told Incendiary that he has been arrested multiple times for minor offenses and that his own harassment at the hands of the cops made him sympathetic to the protest. “That’s what I call women’s empowerment right there,” he said.
Several students also showed up to support the protest. “You don’t have to convince us that this is wrong,” one student said. “We are down for this protest.”
After a few speeches, the protest turned away from the street and marched up to the doors of APD headquarters, with some women banging on the windows as they continued to repeat chants like “Working women give them hell! It is right to rebel!” and “Abusers hide at APD! Down with molester Dustin Lee!” As the crowd dispersed, the pig head remained, placed on a splash of red paint facing the cameras above the department’s entrance.
“I am furious, and my sisters in Popular Women’s Movement are furious,” one speaker said, “the strength of women’s fury [will] rise up to organize and defeat our enemies!”