Austin police officer Clay Crabb was among the
first to arrive at Chuy's on May 29. Restaurant manager
Mia Lawrence, he later wrote in a report, told him the young woman in question, the subject of a 911 call,
was a blonde wearing a pink halter top who was seated with her back to the wall in the bar area.
Crabb and another officer "were about to go in
and talk to the girl Mia pointed out when I was tapped
on the shoulder by a subject identifying himself as a member of the Secret Service," Crabb wrote.
Officers explained to Secret Service agents, including
a supervisor named Michael Bolton, what they were
doing at the restaurant - checking into allegations that Jenna Bush had used fake identification to try to buy a drink.
Bolton "went around back and told both girls what
was happening," Crabb wrote. "When he came back outside
he advised the girls were going to leave. The party came out front and began to get inside a grey Jeep Cherokee SUV.
We told the agents that the girls needed to stay till we talked to our supervisor."
After they ticketed President Bush's twin daughters
two days later, Austin police said Jenna and Barbara Bush
were treated the same as other 19-year-olds suspected of drinking, or passing off false identification.
Public records suggest, however, that little has
been routine about how investigators handled the Bush case
during and after the episode at Chuy's restaurant on Barton Springs Road.
Aside from the involvement of the Secret Service
that night - and the Police Department strongly emphasizes that
agents did not interfere - there were late-night police calls to commanders, a detective conferring with the police chief
and a line of inquiry during the investigation about who at the restaurant contacted the press, police reports show.
Police Chief Stan Knee said it was the situation - a 911 call to a restaurant - that was unusual, not the way police responded.
"It was unusual for us to get the call in the
first place," Knee said. "Most business establishments usually handle
those things themselves. Once we were notified of the crime, or the potential crime, we felt obligated to make
as thorough a report as possible."
The Bush twins were cited May 31 for Class C violations
of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code - Jenna for attempting
to use someone else's identification to order a drink, Barbara for being a minor in possession of alcohol.
(This is horrible writing. She "attempted" to order a drink? What does
She was too drunk to speak, so she didn't actually order a drink? She just "attempted" to order one?)
On Thursday, Barbara Bush pleaded no contest through
her lawyer, Gerry Morris. A municipal judge sentenced her
to deferred adjudication - a form of probation - 24 hours of community service and an alcohol awareness class.
Like Barbara Bush, most underage drinkers receive
Class C tickets for first and even subsequent offenses. However, since
September 1999 police have usually charged people using fake identification
to buy alcohol with a more
serious offense - a Class B violation of the Texas Transportation Code. Class B offenses typically result in arrest.
Records on file in Austin Municipal Court show
that only one person this year has been given a Class C citation for
attempting to use a fake identification to buy alcohol, said Rebecca Stark, the court clerk. That's Jenna Bush, she said.
President Bush, when he was Texas' governor, signed
the 1999 law in the Transportation Code that increased
the charge for using false identification from a Class C to a Class B misdemeanor.
In 1999, 50 people were charged with the Class
C offense in Austin. Last year, the number dropped to three.
Meanwhile, court records show at least 67 people have been charged with the Class B misdemeanor for trying
to buy alcohol with a fake identification since the law took effect on Sept. 1, 1999.
However, Stark said it's impossible to know for
sure how many minors using fake identification receive the lower
Class C charge because police may file different charges depending on the circumstances.
Most Class B charges, Knee said, occurred in problem
areas - such as the Sixth Street entertainment district,
where police often run sting operations with the assistance of other law enforcement agencies - not 911 calls
to eating establishments, as occurred in the Bush case.
"We look back on our records, and we can find no other incidents similar in nature where a bar called us under these circumstances," Knee said. "In that respect, we paid more attention to this situation than we have in other similar situations.
"After completing the investigation, it was our
decision based on the overall case that the Class C charge was the
appropriate charge to make," he said. "We'll stand by that decision."
The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission is still investigating Chuy's, but Travis County Attorney Ken Oden, in a letter Thursday to Knee, said "there is no reasonable basis on which this office could prosecute any charge against the restaurant."
According to police reports obtained Thursday by the Austin American-Statesman, the party sat down at a table on the lower level of the bar. The bartender recognized Jenna Bush and told the waitress to ask everyone at the table for identification.
The three women - the Bush twins and 20-year-old
Jesse Day-Wickham - handed their driver's licenses to the waitress,
the reports said. After the waitress questioned the license presented by the girl in the halter top - later identified as Jenna Bush - she asked Lawrence, the restaurant manager, to double-check the identification. Lawrence told Jenna Bush she would not
be served alcohol.
"Whatever" was Jenna Bush's response, Lawrence told the American-Statesman later that night.
The waitress brought three margaritas and three
tequila shots to Barbara Bush, Day-Wickham
and an unidentified man with them, according to police reports.
The bartender told police he kept "vigil on the
table . . . to make sure they did not slip parts or all of any drink to
After other patrons pointed out that Jenna Bush's twin sister, Barbara, was at the table and was drinking, Lawrence called 911.
By the time the first officer was dispatched at
10:34 p.m., "the tequila shots were all gone and . . . each of the
margaritas were at least partially consumed," the waitress told police.
Crabb and fellow officer Clifford Rogers met Lawrence
at the entrance to the restaurant and were headed inside when the Secret
Service agent tapped Crabb on the shoulder and asked "if there was a disturbance
that they needed to
know about," the reports state.
Rogers continued toward the table, but Crabb called
him back. They told the agent why they were there, and the agent
called to his supervisor, Bolton. Meanwhile, Rogers called Austin police Sgt. Rodney Keene.
According to the reports, Bolton went inside to
tell Jenna and Barbara Bush what was happening, and then came back
outside to say that the twins were leaving. He brought the group out the front door of the restaurant, and they were
getting into the Jeep when the officers told them to stop.
Rogers asked Jenna Bush for the identification
she used when she attempted to purchase the margarita.
The report says she handed it over and started crying.
"She then stated that I do not have any idea what
it is like to be a college student and not be able to do any thing
that other students get to do," Rogers wrote in his report.
Keene wrote in his report that he asked Lawrence what she wanted police to do.
"She said, 'I want them to get into big trouble,' " Keene wrote.
Keene wrote that he told Lawrence "we would handle
the situation the same way we would for any person
under those circumstances, which was to confiscate the fake ID and turn them loose."
Keene had Crabb look up the correct offense and
then told Rogers to write Jenna Bush a ticket under the alcoholic beverage
code for misrepresentation of age by a minor. Keene got into his patrol
car and called Commander Charles Johnson at home, and they both agreed
they should "confiscate the false ID and refer the matter to the (Texas
Alcoholic Beverage Commission),
who would normally handle such complaints," Keene wrote in his report.
He then got out of the cruiser and told Rogers to "hold off" on the ticket and release the Bush twins.
(Of course - their names are Bush. They are special. They are royalty.)
When a reporter for the American-Statesman showed
up, everyone scattered, a
customer identified in the police reports only as Owen told the newspaper that night.
During their investigation, police ask Lawrence
whether she had called the newspaper. "She told me a regular customer
named Owen . . . had called the Statesman," Detective Mark Gil wrote in his report.
Two days later, Gil briefed Knee on his investigation.
A couple of hours later, after Gil met with Johnson
and Assistant Police Chief Jimmy Chapman, the Bush sisters and Day-Wickham
met police at their lawyers' office, where they signed their citations
for Class C violations of the Texas
Alcoholic Beverage Code - Jenna for attempting to use someone else's identification to order a drink, Barbara and Day-Wickham for minor in possession of alcohol.
At a news conference later that day, Chapman said
the women received "routine treatment,"
adding that there was "too much commotion the night of the incident to issue tickets."
"It got kind of convoluted," Chapman said.
For Barbara Bush, who attends Yale, it was a first
offense. For Jenna, who
attends the University of Texas, it was the second in just over a month.
On May 16, Jenna Bush pleaded no contest to an
April 27 minor in possession of alcohol charge, stemming from an incident
in a Sixth Street bar. She was sentenced to eight hours of community service and six hours of alcohol awareness classes.
Fearing some fallout
Charging Jenna Bush with the lower violation could
create some legal problems in future cases, Oden said.
"We will just have to figure out how to achieve consistency with other pending and future cases of the same type,"
he said. "High-profile cases have that kind of fallout."
Knee said that just because the Class C charge is not frequently used doesn't mean the handling of the case is out of line.
"There's a discrepancy perhaps in numbers, but
in reality a police officer who detains somebody using a false ID
has three options," he said.
They are to write the Class C, write the Class
B, or confiscate the license and open the case up for investigation, he
"If you look at the language of the Class C, it fits the crime," Knee said.
Municipal Judge Karrie Key said she sees nothing
unusual in the charge against Jenna Bush. "Just as I'm paid for my
judgment, the police are paid for their judgment," she said. "People may or may not agree with those judgments."
Jenna Bush's lawyer, Bill Allison, is scheduled
to appear in municipal court on June 25 to resolve the case.
Allison could not be reached for comment late Thursday.