City of San Marcos acknowledges police sent texts about harassment of Biden bus on I-35

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click to enlarge Video shared by this Twitter user shows Trump supporters harassing a Biden tour bus along a stretch of I-35 near San Marcos. - Twitter / ericcervini
Twitter / ericcervini
Video shared by this Twitter user shows Trump supporters harassing a Biden tour bus along a stretch of I-35 near San Marcos.
The city of San Marcos acknowledged in court filings that members of its police force exchanged text messages while Trump supporters allegedly harassed a bus carrying Biden campaign staffers and volunteers in October 2020, the Express-News reports.

However, the city denied claims in a lawsuit filed over the incident that officers ignored pleas for help from people on the bus and mocked their concern as vehicles bearing Trump flags allegedly tried to force it off the road, according to the daily.

In one exchange, an officer asked, "Did Kamala show?" according to the Express-News. To which another replied, "No, just a couple of other yards."

Lawyers representing Biden campaign staff in the suit maintain "yards" was a typo and the officer meant to type "tards" — a characterization the city of San Marcos and its legal team denies.

In another text, San Marcos Public Safety Director Chase Stapp, who is named in the lawsuit as a defendant, wrote: "From what I gather, the Biden bus never exited I-35 thanks to the Trump escort."

Details about the text messages follow the release of audio from 911 calls, which plaintiffs say demonstrate that the San Marcos Police Department denied multiple requests from the Biden campaign to provide a police escort for the bus as it traveled on I-35 from San Antonio to an Austin event.

According to the lawsuit, the department's failure to provide an escort led to the bus being run off the highway, causing one vehicular accident and leading to the cancellation of three Democratic campaign events.

Those representing the campaign staff — which includes lawyers from the Texas Civil Rights Project, Project Democracy, and D.C. based law firm Willkie, Farr, and Gallagher — argue that the San Marcos police's failure to provide appropriate protection while being aware of "acts of political intimidation" violates the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871.

In October, the city issued a statement denying allegations in the suit but acknowledging that it "learned of some insensitive comments made between employees."

"These are not in keeping with the values of our organization, so San Marcos Police Chief Stan Standridge is addressing those comments according to normal disciplinary procedures," according to the statement.

The San Marcos City Council is due to hold an executive session — which is not open to the public — on Tuesday afternoon  to discuss the lawsuit, according to the Express-News. A jury trial is set to begin Nov. 14.

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