AUSTIN, Texas - While lawmakers were debating inside the capitol, police chiefs from across the state gathered outside to dispute claims that the bathroom bill would make the public safer. They said it will actually do the opposite.
"Beyond my wildest dreams, I never thought I'd be standing in front of the State Capitol talking about a bathroom bill. Like police don't have anything better to do but worry about who goes in what bathroom,” said San Antonio Police Chief William McManus.
San Antonio Police Chief William McManus joined the Houston police chief, Austin police chief and other high-ranking law enforcement officials on the steps of the State Capitol Tuesday to flush any claims of a link between sex assaults and bathroom use.
"I asked my department to go back through our records over the years and see if we had any issues with people going into the wrong bathrooms and people being assaulted in bathrooms. We found that there were no reported assaults in bathrooms by anyone,” said McManus.
One officer after another stated the same results.
They all called the proposed bathroom bill legislation a solution in search of a non-existent problem.
"I do not see the bill that is being considered, as we know it the bathroom bill increases public safety in any way, but instead could in fact and will jeopardize the safety of those in our community,” said Austin Police Interim Chief Brian Manley.
"Folks will feel they can discriminate, they can target and they will feel they can have vigilante justice because of this law,” said Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo.
Sexual assault survivors and victim advocates joined police in their plea.
"I am a survivor of a violent sexual assault and trust me I am in not in opposition of a bill that would guarantee public safety. However I do oppose any bill that does not honestly depict what public safety really is with regards to rape and its meaning,” said Lavinia Masters.
"When you have law enforcement and survivors and victim advocates on the same page just perhaps somebody should actually listen to them,” said TAASA Executive Director Annette Burrhus-Clay.
Should lawmakers aim to increase safety police said the bathroom bill is not the way to do it.
"So if you want to pass this law, have at it, but don't include the name the good name of Texas law enforcement on it,” said Acevedo.