The use of bait cars to find car thieves got some high-profile bad press in 2009, when the practice was exposed as a strange nightmare for an Austin couple who found themselves in legal hot water after a car was parked in front of their house for several days with the windows down and the keys in the ignition.
As reporter Michael May documented in an episode of This American Life, the couple reported the car to Austin Police and found the officer who came to investigate to be less than enthusiastic about addressing the situation. Noticing women’s clothing in the backseat, they decided to rummage around in the car themselves and see if they could find contact information for the owner in the glove box—only to find themselves arrested for breaking into a bait car, planted by police to ensnare thieves who attempted to steal it.
The case of the Austin couple got national attention from This American Life because it seemed especially egregious—the couple hadn’t driven the car, the police refused to investigate when they reported it through proper channels, and it spent days on the street with the keys in the ignition.
Eddie Arguelles was a popular staffer at the University of Texas-Pan American in Edinburg who rode his bike with a group called “5 AM Wakeup Ride” most mornings. Last Thursday, though, the 38-year-old was struck and killed by a drunk driver in the early morning hours on April 17th.
Because of the way that social media accounts document emergencies in real-time, it’s possible to reconstruct the day that Arguelles died to some extent. On his cycling group’s Facebook page, you can see the panicked post on the morning of his death, illustrated by a photo of his broken bike reading, “Eddie Arguelles was hit by a car. Not good cant find him. Pd is out looking for eddie a.”
There’s an old adage in Texas criminal justice reform that’s become downright apocryphal: It goes that jailtime should be reserved for the criminals we’re “scared of, not the ones we’re mad at.” In the case of 23-year-old Daniel Athens, who will be spending a full year and a half in a State Jail facility for peeing on the Alamo, we can probably downgrade that to “seriously annoyed with.”
To be certain, peeing on the Alamo is not okay. We wholeheartedly oppose the idea that the side of the Alamo is an appropriate place to relieve oneself, whether you are a regular 23-year-old or the lead singer of Black Sabbath. You will find no one among us who would endorse this action.
Lupe Treviño has served in law enforcement in the Rio Grande Valley for four decades. He’s been a popular political figure, serving nine years as Hidalgo County Sheriff—until he resigned on March 28th, amid corruption charges. Those charges came to a head yesterday, when Treviño pled guilty to money laundering in federal court.
This is not a small deal for a part of Texas where corruption has long been a problem. Attorney General Greg Abbott, while campaigning for Governor, controversially compared South Texas’ corruption to “third-world practices,” and the fact that the fall of a popular figure like Treviño was so sudden—from an investigation into some of his officers last August, to a quick and immediate resignation in late March, to a guilty plea in mid-April—only highlights those concerns. Here’s what you should know about the plea, and why it matters:
Just about everything about the story of Arnav Dhawan, a ten-year-old boy from Frisco who was found dead in his home in late January, is horrible.
The boy’s body was found on January 29, and his mother, Pallavi Dhawan, was charged with murder after police came by the house for what’s been described as a routine welfare check.
There were unusual circumstances after the boy’s death—his mother attempted to preserve the body in ice for days, until her husband, Sumeet, returned from a business trip, before calling police. Sumeet Dhawan says that she was attempting to follow Hindu customs that would allow him to perform a religious rite before proceeding with the funeral. Police also claim that she nodded her head when asked if she killed him.
From now on, the rampage of former U.S. Army Major and psychologist Nidal Hasan that claimed the lives of 13 people and injured more than 30 more will forever be known as the “2009 Fort Hood shooting.” The fact that we’ll need that disambiguation after yesterday’s massacre, in which a man identified by Central Texas U.S. Congressman Michael McCaul as Ivan Lopez left four dead (including himself) and another 16 wounded after a shooting spree, is just one of the shocking things about yesterday’s tragedy.
But in the immediate aftermath of the event, facts were spotty and hard to come by—media outlets even made basic terminology errors, like referring to the Fort Hood Army post as a “base”—and the information moved quickly. Here’s everything that we know so far—and a few things that we don’t.
Here’s what happened in Dallas in July 2012 that compelled the city to reconsider its policy on foot pursuit of suspects:
Police responded to a 911 call after a reported kidnapping at a South Dallas house. Officers entering the home spotted a gun as four suspects scattered. Officers split up to chase the suspects.
The officer who chased James Harper, 31, later told investigators that he was exhausted by the time he ended up alone after chasing Harper over three fences and into a horse corral. During a struggle, and fearing he was losing the fight, the officer said, he shot Harper as the suspect reached into a pocket for what was thought to be a weapon. It wasn’t.
Harper, who had a lengthy criminal history including for dealing drugs, assaulting a security officer and evading arrest, died at the scene.
The show, as they say, must go on, and that’s what happened at SXSW in the wake of the shocking hit-and-run that occurred Wednesday night. Thursday morning, whether the strip of music venues alongside Red River would open was still an open question: Mohawk and Cheer Up Charlie’s, the venues outside of which the incident happened, were closed despite the slate of day-parties that had been scheduled, and clean-up crews worked on picking up the debris. Further down the block, in front of Stubb’s, the former Emo’s (operating as The Main for SXSW), and other spaces, crowds still gathered—though they did most of their line-waiting on the sidewalk, rather than from the street.
Throughout Austin, there was a strange mix of people out to party and dealing with the stress of the fact that people were killed just blocks from where they were having fun.