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Homeless man charged with attacking Austin Police Chief

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A homeless man was arrested earlier this month for attacking Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo. Michael Fitzsimmons was charged with Assault in the incident.

"It's against the law and obviously, the last thing you want to have is somebody sleeping on your property when you're trying to conduct business," said Police Chief Art Acevedo.

It happened at about 6:30 p.m. last Tuesday, Police Chief Art Acevedo says he was pulling into Eddie V's Seafood Restaurant at 5th Street and San Jacinto when a valet asked for help.

Acevedo said, "The person was probably intoxicated and didn't want to leave."

Acevedo, who was not in uniform at the time, says he woke up 57-year-old Michel Fitzsimmons, informing him he was a police officer.

Acevedo said, "I explained to him very calmly that his choices were to leave or be subject to arrest and once again he directed some very colorful language towards me."

While the chief was waiting to make the criminal trespass arrest, the situation escalated.

"He suddenly got up and tried to kick and then pushed me, so I was forced to take him to the ground and detain him," Acevedo said.

The entire incident was caught on camera.

Downtown resident and employee, Brian Rowland, said, "You couldn't get me to walk down 6th Street between the hours of midnight and 2 a.m., not between I-35 and Congress."

Rowland agrees and says similar incidents happen all too often downtown.

Rowland said, "You see everything from bum fights in the alley to, just this morning, the manager of the business that I work at, someone ran off with her shoes when we had let them wash our windows and paid them."

He takes precautions when he leaves work, which is just across the street from Eddie V's.

"If I'm the last one out and there's like maybe three female coworkers still in there, I just lock the door on my way out....I've actually caught somebody trying to steal a woman's purse from our business," said Rowland.

Three days after the homeless man's scuffle with the police chief, he was arrested again and is now in jail for marijuana possession and public intoxication.

"I've said it before and I'll say it again, being homeless or being a transient is not an excuse for not following the rules," added Acevedo.

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