(TMU) – Just one day after a Texas sheriff caused an outcry after referring to undocumented immigrant offenders as “drunks” at a White House press conference, his own son was arrested on charges of public drunkenness and indecent exposure.
Sergei Waybourn, 24, faced the charges just after Tarrant County Sheriff Bill Waybourn caused an uproar with his blanket characterization of undocumented immigrants as persistent lawbreakers.
Last Thursday, the sheriff criticized a California court ruling that banned the use of unreliable databases by Immigration and Customs Enforcement to detain immigrants held by local authorities who may be eligible for deportation, according to the Dallas Morning News. Claiming that 7 percent of his 4,200 inmates were “illegal aliens,” the sheriff said:
“Of those people that we have in custody, we know for a fact that 72% of them are repeat offenders. So if we have to turn them loose or if they get released, they’re coming back to your neighborhood and my neighborhood. These drunks will run over your children and they will run over my children.
“And if that happens I know that you will want, and certainly I will want for you, the full force of the law – and immigration is part of that full force. These people have come into the country illegally.”
Yep, it's in the official White House press briefing transcript: Texas Tarrant County Sheriff Bill Waybourn refers to undocumented immigrants as "drunks,'' who will "run over your children" — unchallenged by @ICEgov acting director Matt Albence pic.twitter.com/MAR7Jmu8XI
— Carla Marinucci (@cmarinucci) October 10, 2019
Sheriff Waybourn’s son, Sergei, was arrested the very next day near the AT&T stadium in Texas after exposing his genitals to passing motorists, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.
Unlike the vast majority of undocumented immigrants, Sergei also has a long rap sheet in the region. In January, Arlington police arrested him and charged him with theft under $2,500. He eventually was sentenced to nine months imprisonment on the charge.
Prior to that incident, Sergei Waybourn was also charged three times with criminal trespassing and twice with theft over the past two years. In June 2018, he was also charged with assault.
In a statement over the weekend, Sheriff Waybourn said:
“It has been many years since he disassociated from our family … We, along with many family members have made efforts over the years to help him — all to no avail. It is always sad when drugs take control of a person’s life. His choices and actions have led to this situation.”
Criticism had poured in from various quarters after the sheriff’s inflammatory remarks, which advocates have described as “racist,” “bigoted,” and ignoring the fact that non-immigrant Texans are far more likely to be arrested than migrants.
Tarrant County friends, I suggest you head over to Sheriff Bill Waybourn’s page and tell him how you feel about his comments. This is what I posted:
“Your comments at the White House press briefing were offensive, racist, and an embarrassment to… https://t.co/G8gFBCO5rw
— mkrabill (@mkrabill) October 10, 2019
Domingo Garcia, national president of Latino advocacy group LULAC, said:
“It is appalling that a man with a badge and gun like Sheriff Waybourn would make such ignorant and twisted racist statements influenced by his far right-wing ideology. We know that in Texas, the data shows that native-born residents are much more likely to be convicted of a crime than immigrants.”
While U.S. Representative Marc Veasey, whose district also includes parts of Tarrant County, remarked:
“These actions are completely unacceptable, let alone by someone who is tasked with protecting and serving our community.
“There is nothing noble about falsely characterizing all immigrants as criminals—the fact is that a majority of research finds that immigrants do not increase crime rates and are less likely to be incarcerated than their native-born peers. The sheriff is simply trying to continue to divide our diverse North Texas community with hateful rhetoric.”
Waybourn claims that his remarks were twisted out of context, and he was only referring to migrant arrestees who had been charged with driving under the influence multiple times.
His son Sergei remains in custody in the Tarrant County Correctional Facility.