Texas Standard For March 31, 2021

Manslaughter indictments in the 2019 death of a Black motorist raising issues about the role of reality TV on policing, and the abuse of police power. Investigative reporter Tony Plohetski with details. And: Debunking myths about migrant children and teens being held in Texas – a PolitiFact check of claims about what’s happening at the border. Also: The ripple effects of this year’s Suez bottleneck half a world away in the Lone Star State. Those stories and more coming up today on the Texas Standard:

By Texas StandardMarch 31, 2021 9:57 am

Here are the stories on Texas Standard for Wednesday, March 31, 2021.

Javier Ambler Indictments

Two former Williamson County deputies have been indicted on manslaughter charges for the death of Javier Ambler II. Ambler died after being chased by the officers for a minor traffic violation. The encounter, filmed by the officers’ body cameras, showed Ambler gasping for breath and telling deputies he could not breathe. Ambler’s family and attorneys believe a partnership between reality show “Live PD” and the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office encouraged deputies to forsake sound policing practices to play to the cameras. Austin American-Statesman and KVUE reporter Tony Plohetski talks to the Standard.

Austin ISD Lawsuit 

The Austin Independent School District is facing a federal lawsuit over its special education procedures. This week the advocacy group Disability Rights Texas claims AISD is failing to evaluate students for special education services. Claire McInernry, KUT’s education reporter, talks to the Standard.

Migrant Myths Debunked

Politicians and pundits have been voicing concerns about the 17,000 migrant children and teens in overwhelmed federal facilities. Many of those are detained here in Texas. Some blame President Biden but policies from the previous administration have contributed to the situation. Houston Public Media’s Elizabeth Trovall talked with three lawyers who work directly with these migrant kids to learn about the difficult road ahead.

Houston’s Flooding impact

For many Texans it seems the rising frequency of weather anomalies like hurricanes or last month’s winter storm are prying a hard-fought piece of the American Dream – home ownership – from their grasp. New York Times reporter Rick Rojas went to Houston where he found that houses are no longer the financial safety net they were intended to be, especially for Black homeowners.

Suez Canal Problems

After six days, the container ship “Ever Given” is finally unstuck from the Suez Canal. The saga isn’t totally over though. It will likely take at least a week to clear the logjam of vessel traffic. There are other ripple effects from the Egyptian impasse, including for the future of global trade. Madhav Pappu, a clinical assistant professor of information and operations management at Texas A&M University, talks to the Standard.

The Sounds of Texas: Julia Deker

Paul Quinn College 

Paul Quinn College in Dallas used to have a dismal graduation rate. But President Michael Sorrel steadily moved the needle over the past years. Then COVID-19 hit. The historically black college is fighting to keep students in school and help them graduate in the middle of a pandemic that’s forced almost everyone off-campus. It’s a struggle our partners at KERA North Texas plan to track over the next few months. Bill Zeeble starts with an introduction to some Paul Quinn students who are determined to persevere.


All this and Texas News Roundup, plus Social Media Editor Wells Dunbar with the talk of Texas.

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