News Roundup: #ElPasoChallenge Goes Viral With A Call For Kindness

Our daily look at Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelAugust 7, 2019 2:00 pm

The El Paso community continues to grieve following the mass shooting at a local Walmart. Lauren Terrazas with Texas Public Radio reports one young boy is hoping to lift people’s spirits with a little kindness.

11-year-old Ruben Gutierrez is challenging every person in El Paso to do a simple act of kindness to honor the 22 lives lost from Saturday’s mass shooting.

The hashtag #ElPasoChallenge has since been trending on social media, and has reached beyond his El Paso base, inspiring people across the country. A photo of Gutierrez holding up his notebook was shared on Facebook and Twitter and lists examples of kind acts, like paying for someone’s meal, visiting a nursing home, or writing someone a letter to let them know how special they are.

Gutierrez kicked off his challenge by delivering food to first responders.

The Galveston Police Department is facing national outrage over a controversial photo that’s gone viral online. Jen Rice with Houston Public Media has the latest on how police are responding to the criticism.

A picture taken by an onlooker shows two white police officers mounted on horseback, leading a black man by a rope down the street. The photo recalls historical images from the time of slavery and the Jim Crow era.

The Galveston police chief issued a statement, saying it is the method mounted officers use to detain people in some scenarios – but in this case, officers should have waited for a patrol vehicle to transport the suspect. He says the officers showed poor judgment and the department will no longer transport people in this way.

According to the police department, the suspect was arrested for trespassing.

Texas has filed a lawsuit against Exxon Mobil for environmental violations caused by a fire at one of the company’s Baytown plants last week.

Harris County and two workers who suffered second- and third-degree burns in the July 31st blaze have already sued the oil giant.

Luke Metzger, executive director of advocacy group, Environment Texas, says Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has been going after petrochemical companies this year for breaking environmental rules – which is a significant shift for him.

“There’s only two possible explanations for this change in approach,” Metzger says. “He’s either seen the light and is finally trying to aggressively enforce our environmental laws or he’s doing this to protect big polluters by preempting citizen and county enforcement to enter into sweetheart deals with the industry.”

Metzger explains that once the state gets involved in legal action, it limits what county officials and groups like his can do. And he adds that’s concerning, since Texas has a poor track record of holding companies accountable for environmental violations.