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#5081 Postby TexasStooge » Fri Apr 28, 2006 4:16 pm

Prosecutor: No hate-crime charges for 2 teens

HOUSTON, Texas (WFAA ABC 8/AP) - Prosecutors won't seek hate-crime charges against two white teens accused of brutally beating and sodomizing a 16-year-old Hispanic boy after he tried to kiss a young girl, officials said.

If the teenagers are convicted, though, jurors will be told during sentencing about the ethnic slurs used during the attack, Harris County prosecutor Mike Trent told the Houston Chronicle for Friday's editions.

David Henry Tuck, 18, and Keith Robert Turner, 17, are both charged with aggravated sexual assault in the attack that left the unidentified victim in critical condition with massive internal injuries.

Authorities said the two dragged the boy from a house party Saturday and into the yard, where they sodomized him with a plastic pipe from a patio table umbrella and poured bleach on him. Trent on Friday described the pipe as being sharpened at one end and said Tuck stomped on the boy with steel-toe boots and kicked the pipe into him.

At one point, the teens tried to carve something on the boy's chest with a knife, he told CNN Friday.

"I don't know that the very beginning of the attack was racial," Trent said, "but there's no question that they were venting quite a bit of hatred in their hearts."

The victim lay behind the house for more than 10 hours before he was found and someone called an ambulance. Trent said there were witnesses to the beating, though no one else had been charged.

"You do certainly have to wonder why anyone not report that for as long as they did," he told CNN.

Investigators said the attack happened at an unsupervised house party in Spring after the 16-year-old tried to kiss a 12-year-old Hispanic girl.

Bleach was poured over the boy's body in an attempt to destroy DNA evidence, Sheriff's Lt. John Denholm said.

Trent said Friday that doctors had also told investigators they suspected some kind of toxicity in his internal organs that may have been caused by foreign substance, "which makes me wonder if they didn't pour bleach down the pipe as well."

Charles Hinton, Tuck's attorney, did not immediately return a call seeking comment. It was not known if Turner had an attorney.

Authorities set bond at $100,000 for Turner, who was still waiting to make his initial court appearance. Tuck's bond was initially set at $20,000, but it was revoked Thursday during a court hearing.

The sexual assault charges are punishable by five years to life in prison.

Trent said if the victim dies, the teens could face murder charges punishable by life in prison or the death penalty.
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#5082 Postby TexasStooge » Fri Apr 28, 2006 7:36 pm

Police crack down on highway smuggling

By REBECCA LOPEZ / WFAA ABC 8

DALLAS, Texas - Police say North Texas sees a lot of smugglers and criminals on our highways.

So Dallas police have teamed up with 13 other local, state and federal agencies to crackdown on illegal cargo.

Operation Rolling Shield is the largest of its kind here in North Texas.

Police say they will reveal what they found during this operation when they are done.

It took high tech equipment - drug dogs and more than 100 agents and officers to search vehicles - mainly Big Rigs. All to find anything illegal.

"It's important to target those vehicles for both traffic, safety reasons, as well as criminal reasons," said Donna Hernandez from Dallas Police.

A special x-ray machine scans a truck in one minute. The x-ray goes over the trucks so officers can see immediately if truckers are hiding anything. In one truck the driver was supposed to be carrying beer, instead of lumber.

Past searches have been small and mostly stolen goods were seized.

This was the largest search ever in North Texas. They target illegal goods and people.

People like one man who was smuggled into Dallas from the border.

"They just loaded us up like animals and brought us in," said the man.

He says dozens of them were crammed into a truck, sometimes with no food or water.

"I was afraid I was going to die. But I kept dreaming that I could survive so I could work and help my family," the man added.

Authorities say there are plans to do this in other parts of the country.
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#5083 Postby TexasStooge » Fri Apr 28, 2006 7:37 pm

Dallas school may be named No. 1 in country

By SCOTT GOLDSTEIN / The Dallas Morning News

Word is that the Gifted and Talented magnet in the Dallas school system has a good shot at being named one of the top schools in the country in Newsweek’s annual “America’s Best High Schools” list, which appears next week.

The clues are strong.

A camera crew from ABC’s Good Morning America was filming Friday at the school for a Monday morning segment on the No. 1 school in the country, said principal F. Michael Satarino. He said the film crew told him his school, which is part of the Yvonne A. Ewell Townview Center, would be featured on the show Monday if it is ranked No. 1.

He added that crew members said they had also been to at least two other high schools in the country.

Good Morning America was there today interviewing students and … they said they were doing this in preparation, I guess, in case we made it,” Mr. Satarino said.

Newsweek photographers also visited the school on Monday and Tuesday and told Mr. Satarino they had been to two other schools in the country for work on the story.

The annual list of the 1,000 top public schools is based on the number of Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate tests taken by all students at a school last year divided by the number of graduating seniors.

A Newsweek spokeswoman said the magazine does not comment on the content of the magazine before it is published, but Mr. Satarino said he was told by the magazine the list would be posted on Newsweek’s web site Sunday.

The talented and gifted magnet was excluded from the list last year because the rankings are intended to honor schools that challenge “average” students and not those which rely heavily on academic requirements for enrollment. But Mr. Satarino protested, in part because the School of Science and Engineering, which is also on the Townview campus, has similar requirements and was ranked No. 6 last year.

Mr. Satarino said he never heard from Newsweek regarding why they would be included on the list this year.

“The only communication I had was when they told me that we didn’t make it because we were in the business of recruiting top students,” he said.
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#5084 Postby TexasStooge » Sat Apr 29, 2006 8:38 am

Why are there so many truck accidents?

By DON WALL / WFAA ABC 8

ARLINGTON, Texas - This is what a truck driver sees - trucks on all sides, cars in between and everybody changing lanes - a recipe for a roll over.

Some truckers blame the cars.

"They'll try to cut us off and it takes a lot longer for the trucks to stop. With them being so heavy, if a load shifts to one side, they'll roll over pretty good," said David Pasket, a Texas truck driver.

There were several roll over accidents this week in North Texas. They created mess that tied up traffic for hours.

"You get cut off by everybody. I mean it's cars, it's trucks, it's vans, it just happens," said Robert Declue, another Texas truck driver.

When a trucker is at fault, excessive speed, fatigue or driver inexperience can be factors.

When a car driver is to blame, it's often driver impatience, speeding, or not paying attention.

"I personally think the truckers get a bad wrap. In fact, I challenge your viewers the next time they are on the highway to watch and see how often the people cut in front of the 18-wheelers in front of them," said Mark Ball from the Texas Department of Transport.

Another factor - the crowded roads. The system is close to 60 years old, meaning overpasses and ramps are outdated.

Looking for an accident solution on 1-30 and 1-20 keeps trucks out of the left lane.

Truck drivers want to take this one step further.

"A truck-only lane would be great if they would leave it, a truck only lane, then we wouldn't have to worry about doing daily combat with them people in the cars," said Dale Randall, an Idaho truck driver.

The Transportation Council thinks keeping trucks out of the left lane is working, but that there is not enough data to say whether it cuts down on accidents.
_____________________________________________________________

Real-time Dallas/Ft. Worth Traffic Reports from Traffic Pulse
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#5085 Postby TexasStooge » Sat Apr 29, 2006 8:51 am

Facing the music for daring to dance

Lower Greenville site closes as neighbors, city use zoning quirk

By MICHAEL GRABELL / The Dallas Morning News

DALLAS, Texas - There was clear and convincing evidence that booties were shaking on the night of March 31.

Men were observed bumping to the bass-loaded music of Lower Greenville's Lush lounge. Women were seen grinding in its splash of Miami-neon lights.

All of it, according to city officials, was against the law.

Lush doesn't have a dance hall permit. And that means the club – once considered the classier cousin of the bars on Greenville's main strip – is footloose and facing fines, even though it closed two weeks ago.

"I think we're in 2006 now," said Marc Andres, the property manager of Lush. "And most people are allowed to dance if they have their clothes on."

It sounds like a story out of the ol' Bible-thumpin' South, a moralistic tussle between the young and old. But those involved say it could only be a tale out of preservation-crazed East Dallas, another yelling match in the grand squabble between residents and bar owners.

City attorneys filed for a temporary restraining order and a permanent injunction to prevent Lush from running a dance hall in a zoning district intended for small neighborhood businesses.

Lush could still run a restaurant and bar. But no dancing.

"We are not interested in telling people whether or not to dance in a specific place just for the sake of dancing," said Assistant City Attorney Pete Haskel. "The city regulates to minimize the secondary effects."

And Lush has been trouble for the area of older bungalows and brand-new townhouses a couple of blocks south of the main entertainment district, neighbors said.

"Since January 2005, this location has generated complaints, continuous complaints from the surrounding neighborhood," said Deputy Chief Brian Harvey, who oversees the central patrol division. "Assaults, the valet situation, noise, trash, underage drinking, intoxicated persons."

It wasn't supposed to be like this.

"They were going to try to be good neighbors," said Bill Riley, a laborer who lives in a nearby apartment.

Welcome at first

Lush opened in the spring of 2004 to rave reviews with top-shelf mixed drinks, a dress code and entrees like wasabi mustard-glazed pork shank over creamy truffle grits.

Some neighbors said they supported it, thinking it would be like the old Flying Saucer on the corner – a place they could walk to for a cold one and a hot meal after work.

Lush had a mature clientele at first, but the club immediately encountered vocal neighborhood activists, said Linda Do, a pharmacist who said she became Lush's general manager to help out a friend.

One activist "was out there taking photographs and harassing and calling police officers to come and give citations for public intoxication," she said. "They had the wagon out there, and it just scares a lot of the patrons."

Lush's application for a $1,400 dance hall license was denied in August 2003 because it wasn't zoned for a dance hall and neighbors opposed a change.

It then tried to operate under a specific-use permit that balances how much food and liquor a restaurant can sell.

"We tried to do everything to comply with the city and neighborhood," Ms. Do said. "But I can't help when the food sales keep getting lower and lower to the point that it appeared to be working as a nightclub."

Lush also struggled with Dallas' fickle clubgoers, who seem to ricochet from one fad pad to the next. To keep up, the club dropped the age limit to 18 and hired dancers with bronzed bods, short shorts and hips that moved like a conger eel.

With nights like Luscious Tuesdays and Lusty Fridays, a local magazine called it the "Sexiest Lounge in Lower Greenville."

But Lusty Fridays made for sloppy Saturday mornings.

"When they come out, people are falling down drunk, throwing up, [urinating] in the streets," said Elizabeth Gutierrez, a mother of three who lives nearby. "There was a big fight. They were pulling out guns, and they were chasing each other with two-by-fours."

One night in July, a fistfight broke out between 15 to 20 people at the valet stand, according to police reports. Officers flashed their lights and blared an air horn, but the brawl didn't break up until they fired pepper-balls that release a powder similar to pepper spray.

Another night, police found a group of people gathered around a parked car, in which a woman had passed out with her dress up.

Then in March, a man suffered severe brain trauma when he was thrown from the hood of a car after getting into an argument with the drunken driver and passengers.

The neighborhood pressure, combined with management problems and a recent surgery, led Ms. Do to close Lush about two weeks ago. It is being subleased and is expected to reopen as a restaurant.

Still, Lush hasn't been tied to any murders or shootings like those at other targeted clubs in the news recently, such as Blue and DMX.

And despite the seriousness of some of the incidents at Lush, the club wasn't out of the ordinary compared with hangouts on McKinney Avenue or in Oak Lawn, Mr. Andres said. The bigger issue is that the city is selectively enforcing the dance hall law, he said.

"Businesses up and down Greenville Avenue are being harassed under this dance hall law," Mr. Andres said. "There's one place we have that's been cited seven times, and all seven times the citation has been thrown out in court."

But police say Lush was cited over and over again and paid no mind. So late last year, they started using vice officers to build a case for an injunction, said Deputy Chief Julian Bernal, who supervises the vice unit.

'I observed the dancing'

Detectives visited the club at least six times, paid the cover and watched people dance.

"I entered Lush in an undercover capacity, paid a $10 cover and immediately observed a DJ playing music and approximately 50-60 patrons dancing," one vice officer wrote. "I observed the dancing for approximately one and a half hours."

The odd juxtaposition of street talk and cop speak raises the question: Should police officers be used to enforce zoning laws?

Chief Bernal said the realm of vice police is a lot more than prostitution and gambling busts. Detectives are often called on to enforce more mundane crimes like underage drinking and permit violations.

"The neighborhoods are constantly concerned about clubs and the people it brings to the neighborhood," he said. "More crowds tend to have more intoxicated persons, and more intoxicated persons tend to be victims of crime and be involved in things that disrupt the neighborhood."

Vice officers wrote 43 citations under the dance hall law last year and 20 in 2006, he said.

Lush managers were cited five times in March alone. On March 31, Ms. Do was jailed for allowing dancing without a license.

But if dance halls are a big concern, the city should clarify how much dancing is too much dancing, Mr. Andres said.

"I think the city of Dallas needs to take a hard look at it," he said. "It's making it hard to do business."

Mr. Andres cheekily offered other potential targets: Virgin Records, where customers bop their heads to music samples, and the American Airlines Center, where Mavs dancers perform between quarters.

"I've been to a lot of bar mitzvah parties and weddings where there's been a lot of dancing," he said. "And I have yet to see any crime at bar mitzvahs and weddings."
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#5086 Postby rainstorm » Sun Apr 30, 2006 10:25 am

some think dancing is sinful
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#5087 Postby TexasStooge » Sun Apr 30, 2006 10:52 am

Dallas school is tops in national survey

DALLAS, Texas (WFAA ABC 8/WFAA.com) - Two Dallas public schools finished in the top 10 of Newsweek magazine's annual survey of the nation's top 1,000 high schools.

The School for the Talented and Gifted at Yvonne A. Ewell Townview Center earned number-one status in the report, to be published in the magazine's May 8 issue.

Newsweek says the list recognizes schools that do the best job of preparing average students for college.

Another DISD magnet at Townview Center—the School of Science and Engineering—was ranked number 8 in the survey.

Fifteen other North Texas high schools placed in the top 500 of Newsweek's survey:

• 12 - The North Hills School, Irving
• 18 - Highland Park High School
• 95 - Diamond Hill-Jarvis High School, Fort Worth
• 119 - Colleyville Heritage High School
• 133 - W.T. White High School, Dallas
• 145 - Grapevine High School
• 208 - Garland High School
• 218 - Plano West Senior High School
• 246 - R.L. Paschal High School, Fort Worth
• 251 - McKinney High School
• 330 - McKinney North High School
• 340 - Carroll Senior High School, Southlake
• 342 - Plano Senior High School
• 439 - Coppell High School
• 499 - Flower Mound High School
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#5088 Postby TexasStooge » Sun Apr 30, 2006 11:01 am

Plenty of people want to be mayor

Dallas: 13 may be up to challenging Miller

By DAVE LEVINTHAL / The Dallas Morning News

DALLAS, Texas - Laura Miller is a mayor with a target on her back and a smile on her face.

With Dallas' 2007 mayoral election a year away, more than a dozen people are jockeying to do what no one yet has: pierce her political armor. Meanwhile, Ms. Miller continues to push forward, seemingly unfazed, with her political agenda of urban renewal and civic improvement, hardly mentioning a looming campaign.

Ms. Miller the campaigner is a warrior and a winner, which may explain why so many would-be candidates are beginning an effort to unseat her so aggressively, so soon.

There was James Fears and Luis Sepulveda (twice) who challenged her for a City Council seat. Tom Dunning, Edward Okpa, Mary Poss, Erik Saenz and Jurline Hollins fought her for the mayor's office.

Ms. Miller dispatched them all. Handily.

The fact that no one may officially file as a mayoral candidate until Feb. 12, 2007 – more than nine months from now – hasn't stopped several would-be candidates from delivering speeches, raising money, bagging endorsements, floating telephone polls and otherwise looking, sounding and acting the part.

"I don't blame all these people for wanting to be mayor," Ms. Miller said. "This City Council has teed up the most ambitious, exciting urban transformation in modern American history. It's an exhilarating time to be mayor of the ninth-largest city in America, especially if you have the drive, determination and relentless energy to see it all through."

If she wins re-election next year and serves a full term, Ms. Miller would become the longest-serving mayor in Dallas history. She says she wants to run again to see through a litany of projects, such as downtown's redevelopment, crime reduction, an arts renaissance and the building of three Trinity River suspension bridges, "and I can't rest until I see it with my eyes and not my imagination."

Here is a survey, one year out, of the Dallasites vying to replace her with themselves.

Off to the races

For District 9 council member Gary Griffith, attorney Darrell Jordan, Texas Instruments executive Phil Ritter and American Way magazine editor Zac Crain, the race has already begun.

Both Mr. Griffith and Mr. Crain this month conducted campaign kick-off events for themselves, and while Mr. Ritter hasn't yet, he says he's in the race to its end.

"I believe I've courted the best number of leaders and the best network of donors," Mr. Ritter said. "Those two factors will dominate this race, along with message."

Such leaders and donors won't be on full public display until July, when the next round of Dallas campaign finance reports are due. As of January, Ms. Miller led all others in cash on hand.

But U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Dallas, says he's pleased his long-time friend Mr. Griffith is running.

"He's been the backbone of the infrastructure of the Dallas community for a number of years," Mr. Sessions said. "It's a strong field. But Gary is going to go out and vigorously pursue this matter."

Mr. Griffith said, "I believe you can get more done faster by working together than in a divided government. That's one important reason I'm running, and I need to start early so I can move across the city."

Mr. Jordan cites Dallas' failure to land the Dallas Cowboys' new stadium within its city limits as another reason why he believes Ms. Miller is vulnerable. And in a fundraising letter this month to prospective donors, he described relations among Ms. Miller and other council members as "guerrilla warfare."

Mr. Jordan, who placed second behind former Mayor Ron Kirk in the 1995 mayoral election, says he believes the gaggle of potential candidates will grow smaller as months fly by.

"And my preliminary indications are that I'll be around in the end," Mr. Jordan said.

Like Ms. Miller, Mr. Crain is a former Dallas Observer writer. At 31, he's also the youngest mayoral hopeful among the current field.

"We seem to be selling Dallas to everyone outside of Dallas. Why haven't we been selling Dallas to Dallasites?" Mr. Crain asked. "People here are interested in very basic services improving. They're interested in seeing their neighborhoods improve."

Ms. Miller declined to answer questions, which she asked be submitted by e-mail, regarding her campaign organization and timing. She also declined to answer questions about her relationship with council members who may run against her, and how this might affect the council's business.

"Since I've been mayor, the City Council has worked in harmony to do a complete aesthetic overhaul of the Trinity River Project, put building cranes all over downtown Dallas for the first time in 20 years, reduce crime in all categories for the first time in over a decade, build more single family homes south of the river than north of it, pass a smoking ban in restaurants, an anti-discrimination ordinance for gays and lesbians and transgenders, tow uninsured drivers off our streets, and take the boldest steps in the history of our city to get the homeless off the streets and into housing and services," Ms. Miller wrote.

To run or not to run

Two-term council member Bill Blaydes is blunt when assessing Ms. Miller's performance as mayor.

"She has forgotten half of the city of Dallas, the southern sector," said Mr. Blaydes, who has made economic development in that part of Dallas a pet issue. "There's a lack of seeing beyond downtown and the Trinity River and fine-arts programs on her part, and council members are totally disgruntled with the current leadership."

He says he'll make a decision on whether to run within days.

In the interim, he acknowledges there's much thinking to do. Can he raise money? Can he generate enough support?

"And [Ms. Miller] is absolutely the finest raiser of money and public debater we've ever had in this city," Mr. Blaydes said.

Max Wells, a former council member and Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport Board chairman, says he's facing a similar predicament: Is he viable in a field where donations and endorsements will be thinned by such a large candidate population?

He conducted a poll this month to help find out. And he says he'll probably decide within weeks what he'll do.

"That there are so many candidates is a prime example of the level of dissatisfaction with how the city is functioning," said Mr. Wells, who like Mr. Jordan and Mr. Blaydes has been actively courting prominent southern-sector residents for support. "The style of leadership seems to create friction and division and crisis."

Rita Kirk Whillock, a Southern Methodist University political science and communications professor, says issues, more so than personalities, probably will decide which candidates continue forward into next year, and which ones stop on the campaign trail's shoulder.

A large number of candidates undoubtedly will play to Ms. Miller's favor, she added.

"In some ways, you divide the opposition. It's to her advantage," Dr. Whillock said. "How fast that sifting process goes depends on a number of factors, though. It's too early to tell."

In no hurry

Mayor Pro Tem Don Hill is black and a southern sector resident – two notable factors in a field that is, to date, overwhelmingly white and northern-sector based.

After all, very strong turnout among black, southern-sector voters single-handedly sunk the first of two "strong mayor" propositions put before them last year in a citywide referendum. Ms. Miller supported the proposition; Mr. Hill and the rest of the council opposed it.

But Mr. Hill remains a focal point in an ongoing public corruption investigation the FBI is conducting, although neither he nor anyone else at City Hall has been indicted or charged. Regardless, will the investigation alone shelve his mayoral aspirations?

"The FBI, that's not going to be a major factor for me in my decision," said Mr. Hill, who is in his fourth and final council term because of term limits. "I've had a number of individuals and groups come to me, but it's just too early for me to, in essence, politicize everything I do here at City Hall. We've got a lot to work on."

Mr. Hill said he probably will decide whether to run in "the latter part of this year." And regardless of his decision, "the voters in the southern sector will be the key to this election," he predicted.

Council member Ed Oakley says he "hasn't ruled out" a mayoral run. One reason he says he's considering a bid is because "there's still not anybody in the race that can beat the mayor. There's not a whole lot of people rallying around one person."

Mr. Oakley, in his third term, represents heavily Hispanic District 3, which includes large swaths of Oak Cliff and Mountain Creek.

Meanwhile, former four-term council member Veletta Forsythe Lill continues to flirt with a mayoral bid.

"I'm leaning toward not running," Ms. Lill said. "But when you're approached about it daily, it tells me the public is hungry for a good candidate."

Mr. Okpa, who earned less than 3 percent of the mayoral vote in 2003, says he may run again, and relative political unknowns William MacLeod and Ms. Hollins have filed official mayoral campaign treasurer forms with Dallas City Hall.

And activist and perennial candidate Richard Sheridan, who was once arrested by City Hall security officers after approaching the council uninvited during a meeting and gesturing toward Ms. Miller, also says he will run.
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#5089 Postby TexasStooge » Sun Apr 30, 2006 9:38 pm

Police: Woman jumps out of van to escape kidnapper

FORT WORTH, Texas (WFAA ABC 8) - An alleged kidnapping of a woman and her baby from their home in the 4200 block of Vista Del Sol ended Sunday night with an arrest along Interstate 35 and Sycamore School Road.

Authorities arrested the women's ex-boyfriend.

The woman was transported to Harris Methodist Hospital for head and neck injuries after police said she was knocked unconscious as she tried to jump out of the van she was taken in.

The infant is in good condition.
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#5090 Postby TexasStooge » Mon May 01, 2006 6:59 am

Police: Woman jumps out of van to escape kidnapper

FORT WORTH, Texas (WFAA ABC 8) - An alleged kidnapping of a woman and her baby from their home in the 4200 block of Vista Del Sol ended Sunday night with an arrest along Interstate 35 and Sycamore School Road.

Authorities arrested the woman's ex-boyfriend.

The woman was transported to Harris Methodist Hospital for head and neck injuries after police said she was knocked unconscious as she tried to jump out of the van she was taken in.

The infant is in good condition.
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#5091 Postby TexasStooge » Mon May 01, 2006 7:00 am

Hispanics prepare for 'Day of Action'

From WFAA ABC 8

Millions of immigrants across the nation are being encouraged to skip work and school Monday to show the economic impact Hispanics have on the economy.

North Texas immigrants are also planning to participate in the "National Day of Action" work stoppage and spending boycott.

Jefferson Boulevard in the Oak Cliff section of Dallas is lined with mostly Hispanic-owned businesses. Many planned to close on Monday in support of the demonstration. At La Calle Doce restaurant, a compromise: its owner said the business will only be open half a day.

For students, there was a warning from the Dallas Independent School District. "You can get up to three days' suspension in addition to the one day they missed," said DISD trustee Edwin Flores. "If that causes them to exceed the number of absences for graduation, we won't let them walk."

There's still a chance for students to have their voices heard. They can take part in an after-school voting drive at Kiest Park, where there's also a rally scheduled at 4:30 p.m.

There will be another rally at Dallas City Hall at the same hour.

A noon protest was also planned at the Dallas office of Republican Sen. John Cornyn. Protest supporters said Cornyn has taken a hard stance against them on immigration reform.

At 6:30 p.m., there will be a rosary recitation in front of the JFK Memorial in downtown Dallas.

Radio personalities at KEGL-FM, "La Preciosa," planned to turn off their microphones Monday as a way of observing the boycott. The on-air staff said they respect their listeners and the message Latinos want to send.

Workers at the Latino station said silence often speaks louder than words, and hoped that their silence would spur more discussion on the immigration issue.

In Washington, there were warnings from supporters of illegal immigrants.

Some said all the Hispanic protests have already turned the tide in Congress because Republican leaders said they are dropping the idea of filing felony charges against illegal immigrants—or the people who help them.

That's the issue that touched off many protests in the first place.

President Bush said there is no way illegal immigrants will be rounded up and deported.

Some Catholic church leaders who support their cause said they worry about a backlash if illegal immigrants walk off the job on Monday.

"In my opinion, we do best by having people at work, having students in school," said Cardinal Roger Mahoney of Los Angeles. He added that he hopes nothing that happens Monday would make it harder to get immigration reform approved by Congress.

John Keeley, of the Center for Immigration Studies, also had words of caution about the impact of mass protests on the majority population. "This reminds them of just how large an illegal alien population we have, and they are pressing for rights the way American citizens would, and that's not the way our nation of laws works."

Stay with WFAA.com and News 8 for continuing coverage on the National Day of Action.

WFAA-TV reporters Carol Cavazos in Dallas and Dave Cassidy in Washington contributed to this report.
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#5092 Postby TexasStooge » Mon May 01, 2006 7:01 am

Woman killed in Garland head-on collision

GARLAND, Texas (WFAA ABC 8) - A head-on collision killed one person and seriously injured two others Sunday afternoon along Pleasant Valley Road and Creek Valley in Garland.

The two women inside the Mazda were rushed to the hospital and the 40-year-old driver later died.

The driver of a pick-up was also taken to the hospital by ambulance.
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#5093 Postby TexasStooge » Mon May 01, 2006 7:03 am

Neighbors going after apartments in Lake Highlands

Crime cited as homeowners group files complaint

By WENDY HUNDLEY / The Dallas Morning News

DALLAS, Texas - A Lake Highlands advocacy group is trying a new tactic to pressure owners of two apartment complexes that residents say are crime-ridden and don't pay taxes.

The Lake Highlands Area Improvement Association has filed a complaint with a state-mandated affordable housing corporation that helped finance the Bent Creek and Creekwood Village apartments.

Over the past 12 months, more than 300 crimes have been reported at those properties, Dallas police records show. They include reports of assault, burglary, theft, possession of drugs and murder.

Steve Wakefield, president of the improvement group, said the unusual strategy "is an experiment to see if there is some sort of pressure or enforcement mechanism that can be used" to reduce criminal activity at the apartments.

The association has begun taking an increasingly active role in trying to fight blight in Lake Highlands. It has hosted a crime summit, fought drug paraphernalia in stores, fended off a proposed nightclub and supported a Dallas lawsuit against another apartment complex with a long list of code violations.

Besides highlighting neighborhood crime, the recent complaint by the alliance of homeowners brings to focus another issue: the tax benefit carried by the nonprofit corporation that owns the complexes.

"These complexes don't pay property taxes but are drawing a considerable amount of police and code [enforcement] resources," Mr. Wakefield said.

The group filed its complaint with the Texas State Affordable Housing Corp., which was created by state law to issue bonds to finance single-family and multi-family housing for low- and moderate-income residents.

Four years ago, it helped the American Housing Foundation, a nonprofit based in Amarillo, purchase Bent Creek and Creekwood apartments.

Calls to Steve Sterquell, president of the foundation, were not returned.

While the affordable housing office no longer has any financial ties to the nonprofit, it continues to monitor the properties.

"We want to make sure they're fulfilling their promise of providing safe and affordable housing," said Katherine Closmann, executive vice president of the Texas State Affordable Housing Corp. "If there's a safety problem, that's an issue."

The group's asset oversight committee recently inspected the two apartment complexes. "They did see some of the issues that the property owners are talking about," Ms. Closmann said. "They're going to make some suggestions in terms of security."

The report is due in a few days.

While officials can make recommendations to the apartment owners, the affordable housing corporation has limited powers, Ms. Closmann said.

"We could sue them," she said. "But frankly, they've been cooperating with us. We aren't close to that type of drastic measure."

She confirmed that American Housing Foundation is exempt from paying property taxes on the two apartments. They were purchased when state law granted tax-exempt status to affordable housing organizations.

"That law has now been changed," Ms. Closmann said. "In Dallas they would have to get permission from every taxing entity to be exempt."

Because the tax exemption was granted before the law changed, the owners will be free from taxes until the properties are sold, she said.

The Bent Creek apartment complex has a long history of crime.

It was one of three apartment complexes targeted in Operation Kitchen Sink, a monthlong sweep that began in December 2004 to rid housing areas of drugs and crime.

It was also the focus of a November police raid that netted several arrests for drugs, theft and an illegal weapon.

In February, a 32-year-old man was shot and killed after an argument at Bent Creek, which has logged 126 reported crimes in the past year.

Mr. Wakefield said his organization is trying to find ways to make these apartments more accountable to the community.

"They have to be owned and managed in a responsible manner on a sustained basis," he said. "I don't mean a temporary improvement for a matter of months."
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#5094 Postby TexasStooge » Mon May 01, 2006 3:42 pm

Protesters arriving at City Hall

By KIMBERLY DURNAN and LINDA LEAVELL / The Dallas Morning News

As the day in which Hispanic laborers shunned working and spending money began winding down, attention was turning toward two Monday afternoon rallies planned to generate continued attention to the “Day of Action.”

At mid-afternoon, more than 500 protesters wearing white shirts and draped in U.S. flags had arrived at Dallas City Hall, circling the building and shouting "Si Se Puede" and "U.S.A." over the din of whirring news helicopters, beating drums and jingling ice cream trucks.

The local developments were part of a nationwide effort to draw attention to political debate over granting citizenship or guest-worker status to millions of illegal immigrants. In Mexico and other Latin American countries, Labor Day is celebrated on May 1.

More than 100 people gathered at midday at the North Dallas office of U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, marching around the front of the building and mostly ignoring three counter-protesters who held up "No Amnesty" signs.

Many in the pro-immigrant crowd chanted slogans like "The people united will never be defeated" and carried signs, including one that read: "The American dream is more than mowing lawns."

Dallas lawyer Domingo Garcia, one of the protest organizers, said he was pleased with the turnout, which more than tripled his expectations. He said the marchers want to send a message to Sen. Cornyn and other lawmakers.

"We just want our voices heard so the politicians can fix our broken immigration policies," Mr. Garcia said.

Rallies were scheduled for 4:30 p.m. at Dallas City Hall and Kiest Park.

The early afternoon gathering at City Hall was peaceful and familial. Generations of relatives turned out, embracing each other and hoisting young children on their shoulders. Police escorted away one activist waving a "Don't sneak into my home" sign after he confronted several Hispanic protesters.

The weather was toasty, and many participants carried umbrellas and coolers. Despite a ban on purchases, vendors arrived in full force, peddling everything from popsicles to American flag baseball caps.

As the afternoon wore on, more students showed up as their school day concluded.

The crowd was mostly young adults, many of whom had skipped work. Xochitl Perez, a 28-year-old who immigrated to the United States from Mexico when she was 8, said so many of her co-workers at the health food store where she works took off that the business was forced to shut its doors.

"I've very moved by this whole movement," she said. "I'm not a citizen. But I no longer have family in Mexico. This is my family here."

Diana Lopez, also 28, is a citizen. But her entire family is made up of Mexican immigrants, she said, people who left everything behind to try to make a decent living and support their relatives back home.

"Here, the wages they make are considered poverty, but compared to what they were making at home, it's a lot," said Ms. Lopez, who left work at a salon to attend Monday's rally. "My parents are business owners. They didn't come over here to be a burden."

Sean Paul Segura, who's half Cuban and half American-Indian, led the crowd in chanting, "Bush, escucha,” or "Bush, listen."

"I see a Latino phobia," said Mr. Segura, a car salesman who works with the grass-roots organization Latinos for Equality. "The laws are unjust. They need to be changed so it's easier for people to come work here."

Not everyone turned out in support of immigrant rights. Ali Akbar, a 20-year-old University of North Texas student, got more than a few nasty glares – and a handful of explicit hand gestures – for wearing a shirt that said: "A day without intruders ... sounds great!"

"It's a national security issue," said Mr. Akbar, whose father came legally to the U.S. from the United Arab Emirates on a student visa. "They're arguing for an international country."

Before the afternoon gatherings, hints emerged that the work stoppage was having an effect in Dallas, from restaurants to construction sites to factories. Crowds were smaller than usual at area day labor centers and the trash didn’t get picked up on time in Grand Prairie. Numerous construction sites were slowed by limited manpower.

At Spring Creek Parkway and Central Expressway, a usually bustling work site looked more like a ghost town. About 20 concrete workers were allowed to take off, but they were expected to work late the rest of the week and next weekend to make up for the lost time, said project general superintendent Dennis Mason of Ridgemont Commercial Construction.

"Every man has to make a choice in his heart about what is right. You've got to respect that, whether you agree or not," he said. "That's the beautiful part of living in this country. As long as it's peaceful, it's cool."

Jim Cummings, environmental services director for the city of Grand Prairie, said contractor Grand Prairie Disposal had reported delays in trash pickup because of employee absenteeism. “They are running late, but we expect all routes to be complete by 5 this afternoon,” he said.

Pam Spell, general manager of Norma's Cafe on West Davis Street in North Oak Cliff, said business was definitely down. And of the usual 38 employees, 10 did not come to work, she said.

"We usually have our specials on the board above you, and our mile-high pies on the counter,” Ms. Spell said. “But I just don't have enough people today. The bakers aren't here."

Still, she said she expected everyone to return Tuesday. "Some of them asked us, and we said we supported them. They're people, too," she said.

Maria Rodriguez stopped by Jerry's Supermarket in the 500 block of West Jefferson Boulevard to buy milk for her baby, but found it closed. “I'm OK with what people are trying to do, but I needed milk and came to see if they were open," she said.

Meanwhile, plenty of workers figured they'd have a better shot at getting hired as carpenters, gardeners and painters to earn the money they need to pay rent today, the first of the month.

"It's a smaller crowd," said James Chaparro, 17, of Dallas, observing the workers waiting to be picked up from the Texas Department of Human Services on Ross Avenue. "I'm telling you, most of them did stay home. It's better for us because there's not a lot of people to compete with."

At the Day Labor Center of Plano, coordinator Rudy Guerra said only about 75 people showed up, and of those about 40 were Hispanic. A typical Monday would bring about 200 to 230 people, he said.

He said he wasn't surprised by the paltry turnout, noting that some workers had been encouraging him to stay home – but he observed that the laborers who came were counting on an improved chance of getting chosen. Usually, the placement rate is 52 to 65 percent, he said.

"The needy chose to come," he said.

A few workers said they’d been threatened with termination if they didn’t show. And across the nation, agencies such as the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Immigration Law Center were preparing know-your-rights pamphlets for workers who might be fired.

From the umbrella-shaded patio of the Café Brazil restaurant on Central Expressway in Dallas, Ruben Garza admitted feeling a bit guilty about buying breakfast. But he and friend Juan Mendez insisted it would be their only purchase of the day.

“We can’t starve,” said Mr. Garza, a 27-year-old Oak Cliff resident. “We don’t have anybody at home making us anything to eat.”

Mr. Garza said all of his Latino co-workers at Alba Remodeling in Dallas asked for the day off, prompting the company to close.

Although the consequences of the shopping and work shutdown may not be clear today, what is certain is the potential strength Hispanics wield.

Hispanics account for approximately 35 percent of Dallas County's 2.3 million residents and the state's 22.5 million residents. Working-age Hispanics, ages 18 to 65, tally about a half million people in Dallas County alone, according to 2004 population estimates from the Texas State Data Center.

As of July 1, 2004, Texas joined three other U.S. states in which minorities accounted for more than 50 percent of the population, Texas state demographer Steve Murdock said.

Experts predict Hispanics will represent more than 50 percent of Texas' population sometime between 2025 and 2035, Mr. Murdock said.

Mr. Murdock said he could not project the possible economic impact of Monday's efforts, but he noted that Hispanics have the capability for disruption.

"You're not going to just fill in for the number of Hispanic on construction sites, for example. Or in motel or hotel industries or in restaurants," he said. "Are Hispanics a significant part of the labor force? Without a doubt."

Dr. Mike Davis, lecturer of economics and finance at the Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University, said Hispanics theoretically could dent Dallas County's economy.

"If 35 percent of the people don't show up for work almost anyplace, that's going to hurt," Dr. Davis said. "That's not to say that's what's going to happen."

He said he suspects that people who avoid buying groceries or gasoline on Monday will pay for them Sunday or Tuesday. "I'm broadly in support of the purpose of the protest, but I don't think it's going to be economically significant," he said. "I'd be very surprised if it was."

The results may be more symbolic, considering that the people who stay home from work may suffer the most, he said.

"If you're working as a cook at some restaurant somewhere, you're being paid hourly. It may actually cost you some money to boycott," he said. "I think that makes the gesture even more dramatic."

Based on media hype, Dr. Davis said, the boycott already may be considered a success. For example, it was being discussed at Ursuline Academy, where his daughter attends school.

"If you get attention to the issue," he said, "your boycott has been successful."

Dallas Morning News reporters Tony Hartzel, Alan Melson, Emily Ramshaw, Karen Robinson-Jacobs, Dianne Solis and Frank Trejo contributed to this report.
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#5095 Postby TexasStooge » Mon May 01, 2006 3:44 pm

Prosecutor: Beaten teen had cigarette burns

HOUSTON, Texas (WFAA ABC 8/AP) - A Hispanic boy who authorities said was viciously attacked and sodomized by two white teens shouting ethnic slurs also suffered cigarette burns on his back and numerous other injuries.

"It looks like they were really trying to kill him and torture him in any way they could," prosecutor Mike Trent said Monday during an initial court appearance for 17-year-old Keith Robert Turner.

Turner and David Henry Tuck, 18, are charged with aggravated sexual assault. Authorities said they have acknowledged their roles in the April 23 attack.

The 17-year-old victim remained in critical condition Monday, Trent said.

"We're hoping since he's lasted this long, he's going to pull through," he said. "Praise God he has made it so far."

The boy was dragged from a gathering at the home of a 12-year-old girl, apparently because he tried to kiss the girl, authorities said.

The attackers stomped on his head with steel-toed boots, poured bleach into a patio-umbrella pole and sodomized him with it, tried to carve something in his chest, and doused his body with bleach, investigators said.

Turner's court-appointed attorney, John Denninger, declined to comment.

Turner's next court appearance was not immediately set. Tuck made his initial court appearance last week.
_____________________________________________________________

How would they like it if they were given the same kind of treatment? :x :x :grrr: :grrr:
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#5096 Postby TexasStooge » Tue May 02, 2006 7:03 am

FBI probes possible sale of Parkland records

By Brett Shipp and Mark Smith / News 8 Investigates (WFAA ABC 8)

DALLAS, Texas - Lists of hundreds of Parkland Memorial Hospital patients may have been faxed and sold to a Dallas-area chiropractic clinic.

After obtaining hospital phone records, News 8 discovered more than 100 faxes had been sent from a Parkland business fax machine to a chiropractic office in 2004 and early 2005. Up to 16 faxes were sent in a single month.

Parkland officials are concerned the faxes included the names, addresses and phone numbers of patients admitted to Parkland’s emergency room following serious injuries, including car accidents.

Dr. Ron Anderson, Parkland’s president and chief executive officer, said he was concerned the faxes represented an “egregious breach of confidentiality.”

“We wouldn’t be referring anything out to a chiropractor’s office someplace," said Dr. Anderson when told about the faxes. "I can’t imagine a reason for that.”

Dr. Anderson said a patient’s medical records are private and protected by strict federal laws, and fears patient names may have been sold to clinics or attorneys.

“Patients are being used as commodities, and patients are really not a commodity,” he said.

Parkland and the FBI have begun a probe into the possible release or sale of patient lists.

An undercover video taken by News 8 showed a visibly nervous Parkland business office clerk disclosing the name of a Parkland patient.

“Anyway, the guy’s name is Luis Cortez," the employee said. "He was in the building and the trailer hit him.”

WFAA identified the employee as Terris Hollins, who later in the video refers to a prior business dealing with a Dallas chiropractor.

“No, he told us to take a break and I said, 'Yeah, that’s a good idea,'" he said. "We both were mutual about it. It’s cool.”

After a brief internal investigation, Parkland disclosed they fired Mr. Hollins. But while Mr. Hollins declined an on-camera interview, he said that he never released any patient information.

“I haven’t sold anything,” he said. “I haven’t taken any money for anything like that.”

Mr. Cortez, however, said strangers with business cards approached him within a day of his accident. An out-of-control 18-wheeler plowed through a small west Dallas auto shop and pinned him inside, he said.

While he was heavily sedated and recovering from surgery done on his shattered legs, he said he became inundated by visitors.

“First two came into my room [and] then three came into my room,” Mr. Cortez said through a translator. “From there, another two and then another two.”

Soon, he said business cards from law firms began stacking up on his night stand.

“They came, they bothered me and I don’t know why,” said Mr. Cortez, who no longer has the cards.

Others such as Maria Montalvo and her daughter Susan Menjivar said they also want to know how their personal information was released from Parkland. Their car was crushed by two 18-wheelers in an accident on I-35.

They had been hospitalized at Parkland for less than 10 hours when attorneys started calling their non-published cell phone number.

“I was under stress,” Ms. Menjivar said. “I was in pain. I did not want to talk to anybody.”

Ms. Menjivar said she referred five calls to her father, Paul Montalvo, who said he’s outraged.

“The person that did call, if I can, he’s a rat,” Mr. Montalvo said. “He's a rat. He has no self respect or no common sense of what certain people are going through.”
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#5097 Postby TexasStooge » Tue May 02, 2006 7:06 am

Did Ron Price bend the truth in speech?

By BRAD WATSON / WFAA ABC 8

DALLAS, Texas - While Dallas school board member Ron Price points to his record of improving schools in his district, making peace among gangs and urging African-American men to mentor young people, there's another part of his record he's reluctant to talk about.

Last year, as Price urged Woodrow Wilson High School graduates to dream big and do great things at their commencement, he referred to his own life.

"I'm from Harlem, New York. Spanish Harlem," he said. "I didn't speak English until I was 11-years-old when I moved to the state of Texas, to Garland, Texas."

But records and Price himself reveal a different personal story.

It seems Price has forgotten how to speak fluent Spanish.

"I spoke a broken English," he said. "[I spoke] more Spanish than English."

Price said most of his Spanish was lost when he moved to Garland where he said very few people spoke the language at the time.

But Garland Independent School District records indicated Price enrolled as a first grader in 1973 at the age of six, not 11.

"My dad, my dad worked, I mean moved here," Price said. "I mean lived here when I say moved here. I mean lived here. Not getting technical when you say moving here, moving there. I'm talking about actually staying here."

News 8 reported last year that among board members with cell phones paid for by taxpayers, Price had the highest bill.

In his speech he talked about who he claims he's been talking to.

"I could've never imagined having the president of the United States, George W. Bush, call me from time to time on my cell phone," he said.

"I would never imagine having the governor of Texas calling me on my cell phone asking me questions."

But a spokeswoman for Governor Perry told News 8, "To my knowledge, the Governor has not called Price on this matter."

Price also referred to meetings with Perry and Bush when Bush was governor.

The White House press office declined to respond if President Bush called Price on his cell phone, leaving Price's statement to speak for itself.
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#5098 Postby TexasStooge » Tue May 02, 2006 7:09 am

Teen driver in crash faces alcohol charges

Lake Highlands: Police say he'd been drinking; youth, six others hurt

By JASON TRAHAN and KRISTINE HUGHES / The Dallas Morning News

DALLAS, Texas - Police believe that the teenage driver of a GMC Yukon had been drinking before he ran a stop sign and rolled over the top of another car, injuring himself and six young passengers.

One of the passengers injured in the Lake Highlands accident late Saturday remained in critical condition Monday at Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas, hospital officials said. The girl, who turned 17 the day of the crash, had head and liver injuries, police said.

Another 17-year-old girl at Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas was in good condition Monday. She had a fractured wrist, severe facial trauma and a closed head injury, according to a police report.

The driver of the SUV was arrested and charged with two counts of intoxication assault.

None of the other youths, all high-achieving juniors at Lake Highlands High School who are involved in school athletics and activities, was seriously injured.

Lake Highlands principal Bob Iden said drinking is a problem at the school just as "it's a problem in every high school in the United States."

"We're certainly no exception," he said, adding that he would use the accident as an opportunity to educate the student body. He made a schoolwide announcement Monday morning.

"I told them they've got to make better choices about high-risk behavior," he said, particularly as year-end celebrations gear up. "They only have 20 days of school left. I told them, 'Don't put the entire year at risk by making bad choices.' "

Unfortunately, he said, he doesn't know whether the students ever really listen to those kinds of messages.

"Nothing seems to stick," he said.

Those injured included a football player and a member of the Wildcat Wranglers, the school's country-Western dance team, who performed at Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and at President Bush's inauguration last year.

One student is a wrestler, and six of the seven students were in the same Advanced Placement English class.

The driver, Timothy Harris, 17, was released from the Lew Sterrett Justice Center on $3,000 bond Sunday after being charged with two counts of intoxication assault. He had "bloodshot eyes and breath smelling of an alcoholic beverage," according to a police report.

Senior Cpl. Donna Hernandez, a police spokeswoman, said investigators charged Mr. Harris based on the two most seriously injured passengers. The nature, and number, of counts could change, she said.

About 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Mr. Harris was driving the SUV east in the 7000 block of Sedgwick Drive when he ran the stop sign, according to a police report. He barreled onto Skillman Street and hit a car traveling north, leaving tire marks on the smaller vehicle's hood, police said. That driver was not seriously hurt.

The SUV hit a curb, then slammed head-on into a tree.

Mr. Harris was taken to Parkland Memorial Hospital but was taken into custody by 9 p.m. Saturday.

Police said they are unsure whether others in the vehicle had been drinking.

"That's one of those situations, with six injured, the investigators were most concerned with the driver," Cpl. Hernandez said. "The rest of the kids, due to their conditions, were taken to hospitals. So it wasn't something that the investigators were looking for."

Dr. Iden said he hasn't looked into the possibility of school discipline for the students because they were not involved in a school-related activity.

He said as information becomes available he will act on it in accordance with the district's student code of conduct and the constitutions of any organizations to which the students belong.
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#5099 Postby TexasStooge » Tue May 02, 2006 7:10 am

Public outcry over tortured dog intensifies

By BRANDON FORMBY / The Dallas Morning News

DALLAS, Texas - Dozens of people outraged over the death of a pit bull mix who died last week from severe burns have inundated the Dallas County District Attorney’s office with e-mails, faxes and phone calls since an arrest was made in the case.

Most of the correspondence asks prosecutors to seek the toughest sentence possible for Deshann Quatrail Brown, 21, who was charged last week with animal cruelty. He is accused of pouring gasoline onto a 10-month-old puppy and setting it on fire.

The puppy was found and taken to Operation Kindness Animal Shelter in Carrollton, where caretakers named her Mercy. The dog later died despite treatment.

Officials estimated that about 1,500 people attended a public memorial service for Mercy on Saturday.

Animal cruelty cases are typically misdemeanors which can carry up to two years in state jail. Prosecutor Toby Shook, who is also the Republican nominee for district attorney, said the district attorney’s office has received more response from this case than they normally do for capital murder cases. He said his office plans to vigorously prosecute the case.

He also said the Mr. Brown has a previous criminal history in another state and that if it is determined he has been convicted of a felony before, the animal cruelty could be upgraded to a third-degree felony and he could face up to 10 years in state jail. He could also face that amount of time if a jury were to find that he used a deadly weapon in the alleged incident, Mr. Shook said.
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#5100 Postby TexasStooge » Tue May 02, 2006 7:14 am

DPD officer placed on leave

By TANYA EISERER / The Dallas Morning News

DALLAS, Texas - A Dallas police officer was placed on leave Monday afternoon after a motorist accused him of inappropriate sexual conduct while on duty, police said.

Officer Vincent Coleman, 40, works an overnight shift at southeast patrol.

The alleged incident occurred after traffic stop over the weekend. Police declined to release further details.

Officer Coleman has been employed with the department since July 2002. An attorney for the officer said his client denied the allegations.

"We deny all the allegations and we're undertaking our own investigation of the complainant," said Tom Pappas, the attorney.

The incident is being investigated by public integrity and internal affairs.
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