The witness

Standing up to Joe ‘Quarterback,’ the bully

Dr. E. Jean Pierre-Pipkin was an educator in Beaumont for 45 years. Now 76 years old, the petite woman is retired but her memory is sharp as a tack, and she has not forgotten the brutal actions visited upon her in 2005 at age 70 by Jefferson County Constable for Precinct 6 Joe “Quarterback” Stevenson, who currently wants voters to elect him sheriff.

During his 15 years as constable, Stevenson has been dogged by reports of thuggish behavior, domestic violence and official harassment but the charges always seemed to melt away before he could be held to account. Media accounts from 2008 document a temporary restraining order issued by Judge Ron Walker after a female friend testified about multiple occasions where she was choked, kicked and punched by Stevenson. A week later, the restraining order was dropped for “insufficient evidence.”

Dr. Pierre-Pipkin refused to back down in 2005 and paid a heavy price for her courage.  At the time, she was director of an Adult Education GED Program for BISD. While setting up a graduation ceremony at Ozen High School, she described how she was confronted by an “out of control” Constable Stevenson in the school parking lot.
She reported this misconduct by a public official in a letter to Attorney General Greg Abbott in specific detail, telling how “he accosted me in a threatening, intimidating and abusive manner; detained me by blocking me from entering my car for about 10 minutes as he waved handcuffs at me; yelled at me before a crowd of people …”

Not only did Abbott fail to take any action to assist her, he turned her letter over the man who accosted her, Constable Stevenson – a bully with a badge known for his intimidating manner who towered over her. Unfortunately, Stevenson did take action and issued a warrant for her arrest on some vague charges and had her arrested at school and had this dignified, professional woman booked into jail. In addition to suffering the indignity of the arrest and jail experience, Pierre-Pipkin said it cost her nearly $2,000 to resolve the legal retaliation Stevenson visited on her for writing that letter to the attorney general. Although justice was denied in her case, she never forgot the horrors of 2005 and this week said “every word in that letter is true, though, and I stand by that.”

But this time the intimidation hasn’t worked. Stevenson will have to confront a witness he victimized seven years ago who refuses to back down. As Dr. Pierre-Pipkin said Wednesday, “I’m not afraid of that thug.”

While the statute of limitations on the crimes committed by Constable Stevenson against this woman has long since expired, there is no statute of limitations on human decency or lack of same, and Joe “Quarterback” Stevenson must ultimately be held to account.