ACLU of Texas Condemns State Rep’s Muslim Survey and Call for Secular Support

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By Becky FogelJanuary 27, 2017 10:55 am|

The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.

The ACLU of Texas has condemned a letter sent last week by Texas State Representative Kyle Biedermann. The letter asked Islamic leaders and Muslims across the state to fill out a survey renouncing religious law and supporting secular governance.

Biedermann says the letter was meant to gather information for a forum he sponsored at the Capitol this week. It was called, “Defending Against Radical Islamic Terrorism in Texas.”

The ACLU responded with a critical full-page ad in the San Antonio Express-News. Terri Burke is the executive director at the ACLU of Texas:

“This is racial profiling – It’s trampling on religious freedom and it’s something that they’ve been doing for a while at the legislature,” Burke says. “And it is fearmongering and it is playing to their base. But they do it as a grandstanding kind of thing and we just decided it was time to start calling them out.” 

Texas Muslim Capitol Day, a biennial advocacy day for members of Muslim communities, is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 31.




Fort Worth police have dropped all charges against a black woman and her daughter whose videotaped arrest by a white officer went viral in December. Jacqueline Craig had originally called the police to report a neighbor had choked her young son for littering. Officer Martin went on to forcefully arrest Craig and her two daughters.

Footage from Officer Martin’s body camera was leaked to the public yesterday. Soon after the body cam video surfaced, all the charges against Craig’s family were dropped. KERA’s Christopher Connelly explains what Fort Worth Police are saying about the charges:

“Well, they haven’t talked publicly, but in a statement, the department announced it was dropping all charges against Craig and her daughter,” Connelly says. “The neighbor the department said, was given a citation for a misdemeanor assault charge, and the statement also talked about repairing trust it had lost in the incident and the department’s commitment to community policing.” 

In terms of Officer Martin’s current status with the Fort Worth Police Department – he was suspended for 10 days without pay, a suspension he’s in the process of appealing.

Now, the Fort Worth City Attorney is investigating how the body cam video got out since it included footage of a minor, something Texas law doesn’t allow to be released until after an investigation is closed.

 




Gov. Greg Abbott is sending $1 million worth of grant money to the city of Dallas to help buy protective gear for police officers. The funds are being sent in response to the July 2016 police ambush shootings that left five officers dead.

The new grant brings the total amount of money Abbott’s office has given to the city since the shootings to $1.6 million.