Dallas Police Watched Body Cam Footage of Jason Harrison Shooting Before Giving Statements

Mark Graham
David Harrison, above, is suing the city of Dallas over the death of his brother, Jason.
David Harrison is still waiting to see the footage of Dallas Police Department officers killing his brother. The June shooting death of Jason Harrison, the subject of last week's cover story by Sky Chadde, was the first fatal DPD shooting ever captured on the department's new body camera technology, but police say they can't release the video until after the grand jury proceedings.

While David Harrison says that his mentally ill brother was never a violent person, the DPD says otherwise -- the officers who responded to a 911 call from Jason's mother say that he aggressively came at them with a screwdriver that day, giving them little choice but to shoot.

More »

Texas Fights Air-Quality Standards Because Lower Ozone Levels Can Kill People

Categories: Politics, Science

Wikimedia Commons/Turn 685
TCEQ: Sure it looks bad, but it's not like you're going to leave your air conditioning.
Here's the good news: Dallas-Fort Worth ozone levels for the first this year dropped below the federal standard of 84 parts per billion. The bad news: the 84-ppb standard the area has just now met for the first time is from 1997. The current standard is 75 ppb, well below DFW's 81 ppb mark. Worse still, most scientists consider the newer standard too high and say people exposed to that much ozone are at increased risk of asthma, heart disease and lung disease. For years, scientists and public health advocates have been pushing for a limit closer to 60 ppb.

Predictably, Texas disagrees, and not just on the grounds that tougher restrictions will eat into economic growth. As the Texas Tribune>reports, one of the state's top environmental regulators argues that lower ozone levels could actually kill people.

"I haven't seen the data that says lowering ozone will produce a health benefit," Michael Honeycutt, the agency's chief toxicologist told the Tribune. "In fact, I've seen data that shows it might have a negative health benefit."

More »

George Clayton's Hilariously Terrible Campaign for the Texas House

Categories: Politics

You heard it here first: Former Dallas City Council member Linda Koop next month will waltz to victory in her Texas House race. We know this not because Koop is running as a Republican in a North Dallas district that, aside from an anomalous Democratic victory in the pre-Tea Party days of 2008, has been reliably red for more than two decades. Nor is it that Koop has a reputation as an intelligent, pragmatic policymaker, which in Texas political races is akin to running with leg irons.

Such considerations will be irrelevant come November 4 because her opponent is Democrat George Clayton.

Sane Texans will remember Clayton fondly as the refreshingly mild-mannered, climate-change-and-evolution-believing Dallas ISD educator who improbably toppled conservative State Board of Education member Geraldine "Tincy" Miller in 2010 only to lose his seat two years later. Perhaps his relative sanity on the SBOE blinded us to his shortcomings, since his campaign for state House has been amusingly pathetic.

More »

Plano GOP Ad Guy Wants You to Know, "Republicans Are People Too"

Categories: Politics

Republicans Are People Too via Youtube
Vinny Minchillo had seen enough.

"Everyone talks about civil discourse, but when we talk to each other, especially on social media, there's no civil discourse," he says. "It's really, really funny. It's become OK to talk about Republicans in the most horrible terms possible. In the '80s and '90s on TV shows, the bad guys were always Russians. Now the bad guys are all Republicans."

Minchillo, who's worked for a number of Republican campaigns including Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential bid, decided to challenge preconceptions about members of the GOP, and maybe change a few minds, with a campaign called "Republicans Are People Too."

More »

Inside Davis' "Seductive" Plan to Boost Minimum Wage in Texas

Categories: Politics

The All-Nite Images
A recent rally in New York to raise the minimum wage of fast-food workers: It's a controversial idea that's popular among many politicians, including Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis.

Amid the storm of fast-food worker protests for better pay, Democratic candidate for governor Wendy Davis announced late last week her plan to boost Texas' minimum wage to $10 per hour, which is generally how much national cost-of-living studies say is necessary for struggling workers to have improved quality of life.

Meanwhile, while Texas business organizations are crying out against the motion. Davis' GOP opponent Greg Abbott was predictably one of the first to speak out, saying a boost to minimum wage would hurt job growth and tarnish the "Texas Miracle" reputation. Bill Hammond, CEO of the Texas Association of Business, also thinks the "long arm of government" shouldn't be mandating wage raises.

"We see the minimum wage as a starter or training wage," says Hammond. "So if we were to boost the minimum wage overnight, the starter jobs would basically be eliminated." But Dr. Mike Davis, an SMU economics and business professor, says the issue is not so simple.

More »

Americans for Prosperity Conference Wraps Up with a Heartfelt Kiss for the Free Market

Categories: Politics

Sky Chadde
On message. All the time.

I'm sitting next to a well-dressed home-schooled high schooler from just outside of Lafayette, Louisiana, watching failed Senate candidate and former HP CEO Carly Fiorina talking about the dignity of jobs that don't pay a living wage. Why Fiorina is speaking at Defending the American Dream isn't really clear. She did an awful job at HP, has never held elected office and seems incapable of saying anything remotely incisive. Nevertheless, her performance distills Americans for Prosperity, and its conference, to its essence.

Fiorina was introduced as someone who worked her way from being a secretary to being the first female CEO of a Fortune Top 50 company (until she was booted out with a $21 million severance package). Like a lot of things said at this conference, that's technically true. Sure, Fiorina's dad was a federal judge and law school professor and her mom was a professional artist. She may have graduated from Stanford before getting a master's from MIT's Sloan School of Management, too, but she did do some secretarial work after dropping out of UCLA's law school before ditching and heading to Italy to teach English.

There's nothing wrong with any of that, of course. It's just that presenting Fiorina as a salt-of-the-earth, rags-to-riches story is disingenuous.

More »

Rick Perry Feels the Love at Americans for Prosperity Summit

Categories: Politics

Rick Perry (via Twitter)
Honestly? It was about what you would've expected.

The irony that Americans For Prosperity's Defending the American Dream summit is being held in a hotel paid for with taxpayer funds can be a little overwhelming. Everyone you talk to opposes regulation and taxes with a religious fervor while at the same time praising the setting and the glory of Governor Rick Perry's free market paradise.

Tim Phillips, American's for Prosperity's president, had the honor of providing the introductory hagiography for Perry and promised that everyone in the room stood with the indicted governor in his fight against an "overzealous prosecutor."

Then it was time. Little Texas' "God Blessed Texas" blasted over the public address system and Perry entered like a wrestler thoroughly prepped for scripted battle, full of bravado and wearing his ever-present grin.

More »

Americans for Prosperity's Defending the Dream Message: Don't Be Crazy

Categories: Politics

Sky Chadde
Americans for Prosperity sure know how to brand.
Friday and Saturday, the Omni Dallas hosts Americans for Prosperity's "Defending the American Dream" conference. Featured speakers include Governor Rick Perry, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Jeb Hensarling and Indiana governor Mike Pence. We sent two of our reporters to get the full experience.

Political rhetoric on both sides has the potential to get out of hand and send speakers down the rabbit hole of sounding crazy. Throwing red meat is fantastic if you want to whip up the base, but if you're trying to gain some converts, not so much. At Americans for Prosperity's summit, the panelists and session-leaders seemed to take this to heart.

With social media and the Internet, "everyone's voice can be heard, but there's some people we wish whose voices couldn't be heard," said Erik Telford of the Franklin Center.

More »

What I Learned About How to Talk to Liberals from Americans for Prosperity

Categories: Politics

Everyone was getting along just dandy. Then someone mentioned affordable health care and the tomahawks came out.
Friday and Saturday, the Omni Dallas hosts Americans for Prosperity's "Defending the American Dream" conference. Featured speakers include Governor Rick Perry, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Jeb Hensarling and Indiana governor Mike Pence. We sent two of our reporters to get the full experience. This is one of their dispatches:

Unlike Defending the American Dream's 9 a.m. sessions, which were "highlighted" by a mostly wonky discussion about the evils of Obamacare, the 10 a.m. workshops featured a clear headliner: "Thanksgiving Gone Wrong: How to Talk About Freedom," where an audience packed into an overflowing ballroom learned the best ways to deal with particularly ornery liberal friends and relatives.

Here's what I learned:

  • According to woman sitting behind me in the audience, Facebook recently suggested she send a friend request to her plastic surgeon, despite her never having posted anything about her procedures on the social network. She thinks this happened because Facebook has access to her medical records. She and her friend considered whether they should keep using the social network or not.
More »

Greg Abbott Shoots Down Local Rep's Call for Independent Watkins Investigation

Categories: Politics

Thumbnail image for Craig_Watkins_061910.jpg
Sam Merten
Craig Watkins
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott rejected a request from Republican state Representative Jason Villalba to investigate Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins' use of asset forfeiture funds to make good on a February 2013 traffic accident Watkins caused. Abbott told Villalba that he can't initiate an investigation based solely on a request from a legislator.

That doesn't mean Villalba is giving up just yet.

Debbie Denmon, spokeswoman for Watkins, says the district attorney was driving a county SUV to a law enforcement gathering to give a speech. On the Dallas North Tollway, Watkins glanced at his speech, Denmon says, and rear-ended another vehicle. Repairs to both vehicles, as well as the other driver's medical bills, were paid with forfeiture funds Watkins controls.

More »

Now Trending