TEXAS BOOGALOO INDICTMENT
Man with links to ‘boogaloo’ movement indicted in Texas
TEXARKANA, Texas (AP) — A 36-year-old man with apparent ties to a loose movement of right-wing extremists has been indicted in Texas on charges including attempted capital murder of a peace officer. Aaron Swenson was arrested in April in Texarkana, Texas, and accused of threatening to ambush and kill a police officer in a Facebook Live video. Police say he was wearing a ballistic vest when officers took him into custody. They found two loaded pistols and a shotgun in his car. According to police and the Tech Transparency Project, a Facebook profile belonging to Swenson includes references to the “boogaloo” movement, a network of gun enthusiasts who support overthrowing the U.S. government.
AMERICA PROTESTS-DALLAS-LESS-LETHAL WEAPONRY
Dallas agrees to temporary ban on less-lethal police weapons
DALLAS (AP) — Dallas officials have agreed to a 90-day ban on the use against demonstrators of such weapons as tear gas and other less-lethal police crowd-control weapons. U.S. District Judge Sam Lindsay approved late Thursday a consent decree in which Dallas police agree not to use against peaceful demonstrators smoke bombs, flashbangs, pepperballs, Mace or other chemical agents. They also agree to not fire such impact projectiles as rubber bullets, bean bags or sponges. Tasia Williams and Vincent Doyle sued the city and police after police rubber bullets injured them during two separate Black Lives Matter marches in Dallas.
Some states hit pause, others press on amid spike in virus
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Utah and Oregon have hit the pause button, putting any further reopenings of their economies on hold amid a spike in coronavirus cases. But there is no turning back in such states as Texas, Arkansas and Arizona despite flashing warning signs there, too. One by one, states are weighing the health risks from the virus against the economic damage from the stay-at-home orders that have thrown millions out of work over the past three months. And many governors are coming down on the side of jobs, even though an Associated Press analysis finds that cases are rising in nearly half the states.
Authorities: Blast that damaged Houston bar was intentional
HOUSTON (AP) — The Houston Fire Department says an early morning explosion that heavily damaged a bar and some homes near downtown Houston was intentionally caused. Arson investigators did not provide other information on the blast, saying the case was still under investigation. The explosion was reported shortly before 5 a.m. Friday at Bar 5015 near the Houston Museum District. No injuries were reported and investigators believe no one was inside the building at the time. Corri Babineaux, who lives next to the bar, says the explosion was so strong that it knocked her out of bed.
Texas sets record high of COVID-19 hospitalizations
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas has seen hospitalizations for infections by the new coronavirus reach a record high for the third time in four days, even as state officials continue to loosen restrictions on public activities. State health officials say 2,166 patients were in Texas hospitals Friday with COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus. That’s 13 more than Wednesday’s record. Friday saw almost 2,100 new cases reported in Texas, bringing the total for the 3 1/2-month outbreak to 83,680. The 19 new deaths reported Friday from the disease brings the overall state death toll to 1,939.
CACTUS SMUGGLING RING
Texas man pleaded guilty in cacti smuggling case
EL PASO, Texas (AP) — A man pleaded guilty in connection with a West Texas ring that smuggled rare living rock cacti, a plant that wildlife officials say are a protected species. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas says Harry George Bock II, of El Paso, pleaded guilty Tuesday before a U.S. magistrate judge in Pecos to one count of mislabeling exports in a scheme to ship cacti overseas. El Paso Times reports that the government seized Bock’s shipment of 41 cacti at an international mail facility in Chicago in 2018. The U.S. wildlife says that Bock faces three years of probation, $7,200 in restitution as part of a plea agreement.
Texas athletes: Rename buildings, drop ‘The Eyes of Texas’
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A group of Texas Longhorns football players and other athletes are urging the school to rename several campus buildings, change the traditional school song and donate money to support the Black Lives Matter movement. A two-page unsigned note posted on social media said the football team will participate in team activities but won’t help recruiting or participate in alumni events. The letter said the players want the school to address their issues before the fall semester starts in August.
Houston’s oft-vandalized Columbus statue has hand lopped off
HOUSTON (AP) — The left hand has been lopped off a 7-foot statue of Christopher Columbus that’s been a repeated target of vandals in a Houston park. The vandalism was discovered Thursday night in Houston’s Bell Park. Besides the severed hand, a noose was left around the statue in what was the second attack on it in as many nights. Red paint was found splashed on the statue Wednesday night. A cardboard sign was left behind saying, “Rip the hand from your oppressor.” Columbus is regarded recently as the origin of European enslavement of the indigenous peoples of the Americas.
Range Resources pleads no contest to environmental crimes
Pennsylvania’s most active shale gas driller has pleaded no contest to environmental crimes over its handling of contamination at a pair of well sites. The state attorney general’s office announced Friday that Range Resources Corp. pleaded no contest in Washington County Court to seven misdemeanor counts. As part of its plea, the Fort Worth, Texas-based company will pay $50,000 in fines and make $100,000 in charitable contributions to a pair of watershed groups. Range has drilled more than 1,500 unconventional gas wells in Pennsylvania. It says it’s taken responsibility for the contamination and has improved its operations.
AMERICA PROTESTS-POLICE MISCONDUCT
Police disciplinary records are largely kept secret in US
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — In recent years, there have been dozens of examples of officers who had numerous complaints against them of excessive force, harassment or other misconduct before they were accused of killing someone on duty. But the public didn’t know about any of that until the victims’ deaths. Across the U.S., citizen complaints against police officers are largely kept secret, either under the law or by union contract — a practice some criminal justice experts say deprives the public of information that could be used to root out problem officers before it’s too late.