The State of Texas: Waco Cops Cleared In Twin Peaks Biker Shootout
Plus: A youth football team in Beaumont protests police brutality, Ted Cruz fights for Internet freedom, and here’s what Texans really think about Donald Trump’s wall.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“Whether it was raining cats and dogs or we were in the middle of the dog days of summer, Radar was there by my side.”
—Frank Billingsley, a weatherman for Houston’s KPRC, remembering the station’s beloved adopted “weather dog,” Radar, who recently passed away. Radar was twelve-years-old.
On Wednesday, a McLennan County grand jury cleared three Waco police officers involved in the biker gang shootout at a Waco Twin Peaks last year. According to the Waco Tribune-Herald, three veteran officers—Andy O’Neal, Michael Bucher, and Heath Jackson—were all cleared for their roles in the melee, which left nine dead and eighteen wounded. A Waco police spokesman said the officers had already been cleared in an internal investigation before the grand jury made its recommendation not to file charges. The grand jury decision comes after the Associated Press reported that it had reviewed potential grand jury evidence that showed four of the dead and at least one of the wounded were hit by bullets from .223-caliber rifles, the only kind of weapon Waco police used during the shootout. And shortly after the shooting, then-police chief Brent Stroman said three officers fired a total of twelve gun shots. The scene was chaotic—239 people were detained after the shooting and 154 bikers were ultimately indicted, while nearly 500 weapons were recovered from the scene, including guns, brass knuckles, batons, tomahawks, weighted weapons, a hatchet, stun guns, bats, clubs, a machete, a pipe, an ax, pepper spray and a chain. Waco police and the McLennan County District Attorney’s office have faced criticism for their responses to the shooting and their handling of the aftermath. According to the Austin American-Statesman, police had been monitoring the two gangs involved in the shooting, and they were alerted ahead of time that there might be some sort of violent altercation at the restaurant between the two rival gangs. After the shooting started, more than two dozen officers quickly arrived at the scene. It’s unclear if the three cleared officers were the only officers under investigation by the grand jury. Meanwhile, the aforementioned Twin Peaks restaurant hasn’t been the same since the shooting. It’s still shuttered and seems unlikely to reopen anytime soon.
MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS
A youth football team in Beaumont has been thrown into the middle of the debate over football players protesting police brutality by kneeling or sitting during the national anthem. According to the Beaumont Enterprise, the entire Beaumont Bulls team, a bunch of eleven and twelve-year-old kids and their coaches, took a knee during the anthem before Saturday’s game, and video of their protest went viral. According to the Enterprise, several coaches considered kneeling earlier last week but decided not to, until a handful of players approached them wanting to kneel after being inspired by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who sat out the anthem a few weeks ago. Each of the players’ parents and the team’s executive board gave their approval to protest, and so the entire team knelt on the sideline with their hands clasped on each other’s shoulders while the anthem played. The team went on to win that game 27-0. The protest promptly made its rounds on the Internet, and though some people expressed their support, many other commenters directed racist epithets at the team and said that they should be burned or lynched.
World Wide Ted
After a pretty quiet stretch following his exit from the 2016 presidential race and subsequent non-endorsement of Donald Trump, Senator Ted Cruz is back, and he’s better than ever, baby. Or, well, he’s at least back to his old Ted tricks by taking on the federal government. This time it’s the Internet that has Cruz all riled up. According to the Texas Tribune, Cruz is spearheading the fight against the Obama administration’s movement to relinquish federal oversight of the non-profit that controls Internet domain names, raising concerns that if the feds go forward with this transfer of power, then the Internet could fall into the hands of private foreign players who will attempt to iron-fist the Internet and limit free speech. “Once the government’s out of the picture, First Amendment protections go away,” Cruz said Wednesday at a Senate hearing he chaired. “Why risk it? The Internet works. It’s not broken.” And though Cruz is fighting for the Internet, it’s hasn’t generally been kind to him. There are two “bad lip-reading” videos on YouTube mocking Cruz’s campaign commercials and speeches; there’s tedcruzforhumanpresident.com, a parody campaign website constructed to make Cruz look like an alien robot; and there’s a Tumblr page, tedcruziscreepy.tumblr.com (warning: straight nightmare fuel and NSFW), that Photoshops Cruz into some uncomfortably creepy situations.
Most Texans aren’t feeling Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s proposal to build a wall along the Mexico border. According to a new poll by nonpartisan poll-makers Texas Lyceum, 59 percent of you all don’t want Trump to build that wall, compared to just 35 percent who are in favor of the wall. The demographical breakdown of this poll is pretty telling of who, exactly, is backing Trump in Texas: 75 percent of Hispanics and 72 percent of African-Americans oppose the wall, while 53 percent of white people are in favor of it. The poll also asked Texans how they feel about immigration: does it hurt or help the U.S.? Interestingly, 54 percent of Texans said that they feel immigration helps the U.S. more than it hurts, and even the white subgroup is pretty evenly split, with 41 percent voting that immigration helps and 43 percent responding that it hurts.
WHAT WE’RE READING
The editor of the Dallas Morning News had a chat with Trump supporters protesting the paper’s endorsement of Hillary Clinton Dallas Morning News
There’s been another surge in unaccompanied children crossing the border El Paso Times
Houston’s Housing Authority is offering housing vouchers to families in need for the first time since 2012 Houston Press
A Texas A&M student jammed on stage with The Boss KBTX
A massive marijuana grow field was busted in Anderson County, the second one this month Palestine Herald-Press