Dispatches from Dallas, May 24 edition

This is a weekly feature produced by my friend Ginger. Let us know what you think.

This week, in news from Dallas-Fort Worth we have election news; deaths and their aftermaths in the Tarrant County Jail; Dallas city charter updates; schools news; Texas history; and where to get your nude hiking on in North Texas. And more!

This week’s post was brought to you by the music of the Kleptones, who have just released the 20th anniversary remaster of A Night at the Hip Hopera, their fantastic take on Queen. Check it out on Bandcamp if you’re at all into Queen or mashups or hip hop.

First, let’s talk about the runoff next Tuesday. Early voting ends Friday and if you haven’t already cast your ballot, please get out there and vote! The Dallas Morning News has an overview of area races and recommendations. The Star-Telegram also has endorsements in area races. And if you want an alternative overview, check out the Dallas Observer’s rundown.

There are also a host of analyses and coverage of individual runoff races from various outlets: CD 12; two on HD 97; HD 33; Tarrant County precinct one; and the only race I had on my ballot, the Dallas County sheriff runoff on the Democratic side, where there’s no Republican running so the winner of the primary will cruise through the general. I’ve been getting a lot of texts from the candidates in the Sheriff race, some clearly official and others more mud-slinging and probably unofficial from somebody supporting Lupe Valdez.

We also have three stories about where money is coming from in the runoffs, specifically on the Republican side. First, the Star-Telegram introduces its readers to Mssrs. Wilks and Dunn and their contributions to candidates. Second, the DMN has a story about Greg Abbott giving $2.3m to voucher supporters in the runoff. Last, but not least, the Texas Tribune has noted the appearance of a new big donor in Texas politics: Miriam Adelson, part-owner of the Dallas Mavericks and casino magnate. She’s giving to Dade Phelan, by the way, so it’s going to be interesting to see who survives and gets the big bucks from her in the general.

The other news that I have found compelling and upsetting is the death of Anthony Johnson in the Tarrant County jail in Fort Worth back in April and its ongoing fallout. The short video of the incident leading to his death can be found with this KERA story; I didn’t watch it but I’ve read the descriptions. The two jailers involved were fired but reinstated Thursday evening by Tarrant County Sheriff Bill Waybourn because the firing didn’t follow state civil service procedures. The two jailers are currently suspended.

The Star-Telegram has additional coverage (also including the video). We’ve already seen a protest since the video was released, and Tarrant County commissioners want both better communication and better tactics (some of which are not actually better) at the jail to prevent future incidents.

To put this death in context, as mentioned in a number of the articles on this case, there have been more than 60 deaths in the jail since 2017. One recent case in the news this week was the death of a 63-year-old man with mental health problems in February. I don’t know whether this death counts toward the total number I’ve seen but this week Tarrant County approved a $1.2 million settlement to an inmate who gave birth in the jail to a baby that later died. And while the defendant discussed in this case is still with us, the family of this 21-year-old with the mental capacity of a child is trying to get him moved to a care facility before he becomes another statistic. One of the problems with many of these cases is that there is no mental health care available for these defendant/patients.

The DMN also has a relevant piece covering the death of Tony Timpa in DPD custody back in 2016. That story led me to this AP series from April about lethal restraint, also a factor in the death of Anthony Johnson. I literally found the AP investigation as I was writing this story so I haven’t read it yet. But I suspect that, like reading about the deaths in the jail in Tarrant County, it’s going to be frustrating and upsetting because there’s no easy answer to how to keep inmates from dying from poor jail conditions, warehousing mentally ill folks, and bad police practices.

In other news:

Related Posts:

This entry was posted in Blog stuff and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.