Photo: A protester with the Popular Women’s Movement reads a speech in front of Austin Police Headquarters while others hold pictures of abusive officers Dustin Lee and Jason Dusterhoft
By Dmitri Sans
On Wednesday morning, protesters, mostly consisting of women, assembled outside of Austin Police Department Headquarters downtown to condemn the department and its abusive officers. At the same time, Lieutenant Dustin Paul Lee, who was charged last month with sexual assault against a minor (his own daughter over the course of several years), had his first pre-indictment docket call at the Williamson County courthouse.
Led by the Popular Women’s Movement-Movimiento Femenino Popular (PWM-MFP), the crowd chanted and held signs with slogans like “Pigs Belong in Pens!” and “Working Women Give Them Hell!”
Protesters also displayed a portrait of Lee (with the label of “Pedophile Cop”) as well as a portrait of former Police Commander Jason Dusterhoft, who was fired last December in light of multiple allegations of abuse including sexual assault, strangulation, pulling out clumps of a woman’s hair, and physical beating. In his termination memo, the woman whose complaint initiated the investigation said that Dusterhoft “enjoyed hearing her scream” while abusing her.
At the end of last month, Dusterhoft filed to appeal his termination, asking for complete reinstatement. It isn’t the first time he has challenged a department ruling, as he appealed a “disciplinary action” in the 1990s and won. Likewise, Lee was also rehired previously after being let go for sexual harassment of other police officers nearly a decade ago.
“If Dustin Lee gets fired for this, we will accept the gesture for what it is, a crumb,” a speaker at the protest said. “A crumb intended to pacify our anger, a crumb that serves to further the lie that APD cares for women, cares for the working class, cares for any of us. The pigs made clear who they protect when they kept Lee on the payroll as he sat in jail for the molestation of his daughter.”
APD’s recent track record reveals that Lee and Dusterhoft are not isolated cases. Up until last year, APD had left thousands of rape kits go untested, some going back as far as the 1990s. The testing lab had been closed a few years ago for lack of oversight and rampant mishandling of evidence.
Before the last speech, protesters attached a banner to the wall of APD headquarters which read, “APD Now Recruiting: Child Molesters and Abusers of Women.”
“The cops are the enemies of the people,” another speaker said. “The only way to achieve women’s liberation from abuse and exploitation under a capitalist system is by forcibly taking the power from the ruling class. Only then will the working class be liberated from the chains of oppression and defeat once and for all abusers like Dustin Lee and Justin Dusterhoft, who have systematically been protected and rewarded by APD.”
According to the Williamson County Courthouse, the pre-indictment trial has been reset, meaning it will be postponed to a later date. As Lee awaits the judgment of the bourgeois courts, the judgment of working women has been delivered to the doorsteps of APD with the slogan “Abusive Pigs Deserve to Die!”