Texas police refused requests to escort Biden bus surrounded by Trump supporters: report
Transcribed 911 calls reveal that San Marcos police officials refused multiple requests for assistance from a Biden campaign bus that was being harassed on the road by a so-called Trump train, even as other jurisdictions agreed to help.
The transcriptions were included in the amended lawsuit against the police officials filed by those who were inside the bus at the time of the incident, The Texas Tribune reported.
In October of last year, a Biden campaign event was canceled after a caravan of Trump supporters surrounded a campaign bus and attempted to force it to stop in the middle of the highway or run it off the road. Former President Trump at the time retweeted a video of the incident on his now-banned Twitter account, writing, “I LOVE TEXAS!”
This is a traffic violation and attempted homicide. Why hasn’t anyone been arrested? pic.twitter.com/QnfF4vXMQn
— melissa “cancel student debt” byrne (@mcbyrne) October 31, 2020
Earlier this year, the group of passengers — which included a volunteer, Biden campaign staffer and former Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis (D) — filed two lawsuits relating to the incident, one against the San Marcos Police Department, alleging it abdicated its duties, and another against the individuals who were part of the caravan.
In one instance, Matthew Daenzer, a San Marcos police corporal, refused to provide assistance after another jurisdiction recommended he do so, according to the Tribune.
“No, we’re not going to do it,” Daenzer said, according to the filing. “We will ‘close patrol’ that, but we’re not going to escort a bus.”
The new filings also allege that officers “privately laughed” and “joked about the victims and their distress.”
Apart from requests for help from the bus passengers, witnesses to the harassment also reportedly called the police department, warning of reckless driving, but the San Marcos Police Department continued to withhold assistance.
“Despite these multiple calls for help from Plaintiffs and others, for the roughly 30 minutes it took to drive through San Marcos on the main highway that runs through it, there were no officers from San Marcos or any other police cars in sight—not on the I-35 exit or entrance ramps, nor on either side of the highway,” the court documents read, according to the Tribune.
The plaintiffs also included a group text message between San Marcos police officers that appeared to show that they “poked fun at the attack,” with one unidentified individual referring to Democrats who drove through their town with a derogatory term used to describe people with mental disabilities.
In their original lawsuit, the plaintiffs claim they are suffering from “ongoing psychological and emotional injury.” The driver of the bus, Timothy Holloway, who is Black, said the incident was “just like what happened in the old days, when they ran colored people out of the town.”
Biden campaign staffer David Gins, who was the Biden-Harris campaign’s director of state operations for Texas, said that he stopped participating in campaign events shortly after the harassment.
The plaintiffs will be seeking “compensatory damages,” though John Paredes, the counsel for the Protect Democracy nonprofit that filed the lawsuit, said the suit was “not about the money” and was more about seeking accountability.