Slim Chance Thursday
Just need that magic number to solve all your financial and personal woes? You’re not alone! The national Powerball lottery is now at $675 million—the largest lottery prize in U.S. history—and everyone, coast to coast, wanted a piece of the action. Here’s just a glimpse of what it looked like in McAllen, and this was taken Wednesday when it was a measly $500 million. Pfft.
— Jose F Sanchez (@JoseKGBT) January 7, 2016
Indicted — The sad saga of Sandra Bland took another turn when arresting officer Brian T. Encinia was indicted by a grand jury on Wednesday. The grand jury charged him with perjury based on the one-page affidavit that the state trooper filed to explain his actions toward Bland, according to multiple news outlets. In the affidavit, Encinia said he pulled Bland out of her car to “further conduct a safe traffic investigation.” In the words of one prosecutor, the grand jury “just didn’t believe it [the reasoning],” according to the Houston Chronicle. Bland had refused to put out her cigarette (she was under no legal requirement to comply) and Encinia said she became combative before he warned her that “I will light you up,” with his taser. The Bland family said the charges were long overdue and called it “bittersweet,” writes the Associated Press. Encinia now faces a Class A misdemeanor, which “carries a possible penalty of one year in jail and a $4,000 fine.” But that’s not the end of it for the state trooper. “After the indictment, the DPS said it would begin the process of firing Encinia, who joined the force in 2014 and had been placed on administrative duty after the episode,” writes the Austin American-Statesman. As the Chronicle notes, after the public release of the video, DPS Director Steven McCraw was quick to say that Encinia violated protocol.
Biker Breakdown — Authorities are really not messing around with biker groups eight months after the Waco shootout. “National leaders of the Bandidos biker gang were arrested Wednesday on charges accusing them of racketeering and waging a deadly ‘war’ on the rival Cossacks gang, federal authorities said,” the Waco Herald-Tribune writes. “Three Bandidos leaders were accused of sanctioning a three-year fight that included violent clashes with rival gangs and distribution of methamphetamine, according to an indictment announced by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Antonio.” Two of the Bandidos leaders were arrested in San Antonio, and one in his “fortified” Conroe home, as the Chronicle put it. Curiously enough, the “indictment [for their arrest] does not mention the May 17 melee at the Twin Peaks roadhouse.” Unlike the chaos in Waco, however, the federal charges seem pretty intense. The three leaders face “life in prison if convicted of the charges detailed in a hefty indictment that describes the alleged inner workings of the secretive Bandido.” As the Tribune notes, the indictment focuses on the rivalry with the Cossacks that was brewing before the Waco shootout. That issue still remains with local authorities, not that they’ve been at all transparent. “Waco police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton declined comment, saying the police department remains under a judge’s gag order.
Howdy, Folks? — Here’s a weird little story surrounding Big Tex, or more accurately, the State Fair. Someone is asking participating local businesses if they’ve noticed any “kickbacks, fraud or misuse of city property” taking place during the fair. What’s particularly odd is that these businesses were sent official-looking letters that appeared to be from the city of Dallas’s auditor, and “all of the contact information it contained was correct,” writes the Dallas Morning News. But nobody at city hall has any idea where the letter actually came from. “In 35 years of doing this, I have never seen anything like this. It’s a first for me,” said City Auditor Craig Kinton. The city is taking the matter seriously (it certainly didn’t seem like a joke letter). “Kinton has sent the letter to the Dallas Police Department asking they take ‘any action they deem appropriate,’ he said. But it’s not clear if the sender did anything illegal, since the mailing doesn’t say it came from the city, and it directs recipients only to contact Kinton’s office or the fraud hotline. The Dallas City Attorney’s Office said Wednesday afternoon it has no comment.” So what is going on? Is it a whistleblower trying to get something started? A disgruntled operator? Help us, Big Tex, you’re our only hope.