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Austin chief apologizes for angry Twitter war

The police chief and an anonymous person on Twitter got into a heated debate that ended with the chief deleting his post

By Jessica Holloway

AUSTIN — The Austin Police Chief is apologizing after sending some controversial messages on Twitter.

Chief Art Acevedo met with the Austin City Manager's Office to discuss one tweet, in particular, he never intended the public to see.

"It was a little childish and not professional," said Julianna Crowder, a gun rights advocate who monitors the chief's tweets.

She and others are calling on the city to tighten the reigns.

"I think there needs to be a re-check of social media policy, by the city," said Crowder.

After a long debate back and forth on Twitter with @JohnGaultTX, Acevedo fired back saying, "I love the fact that I have pushed the button of your lying extremist undeveloped brain. Thank God for the rest of America!"

"When a man sits there and lies about you day in and day out and this John Gault hides behind anonymity, I'm not gonna sit back and not respond," Acevedo said. "He should not be surprised my comments back to him weren't warm and fuzzy."

It raises an important question: Where do city employees draw the line between their professional and social media selves?

"When they represent themselves as a city employee, they need to be mindful they are representing the city," said Deputy City Manager Michael McDonald.

McDonald says what Acevedo wrote is unacceptable but does not rise to the level of punishment, not even a verbal warning.

"Not at all, it was certainly something we talked about, we counseled about, he recognized it," said McDonald.

"There definitely needs to be a boundary on what our public officials are saying on social media that could reflect on the community as a whole," said Crowder.

The person with the JohnGault Twitter handle denied our requests for an interview. Chief Acevedo says from all of this he's learned one lesson.

"I think the lesson learned for me is not to roll around in the mud with certain species, it's not worth it. That's the lesson learned," Acevedo said.

Acevedo deleted the controversial tweet.

Reprinted with permission from KVUE News

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