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Leading Off (5/20/15)

Storms Bring Floods and Tornadoes. There were dozens of reported tornadoes across North Texas and Oklahoma last night. At least one building in Mineral Wells collapsed. And there was “significant damage” reported in Runaway Bay.

Five Dead Bikers Were From North Texas. The dead men range in age from 19 to 47. It will likely be weeks before we know who may have been killed in the original fight and who may have been killed by police. You can see all 171 mug shots of the men arrested here. Zac will be along later with a list of his favorite biker nicknames. (My choice: “Gimmi Jimmy.”)

Former Birdville ISD Student Sues District Over Christian Prayers. Isaiah Smith, 20, claims he suffered years of bullying in the North Richland Hills school district, including anti-gay slurs and having baseballs thrown at him. He says it’s related to the Christian invocations used to start every school board meeting.

That Controversial Black Rhino Hunt Is Over. You’ll recall a few years ago the Dallas Safari Club auctioned off the chance to kill an endangered black rhino. The winner, Corey Knowlton, bid $350,000. (Stephen Colbert mocked the whole thing pretty viciously.) Well, Knowlton eventually got his rhino. And CNN’s Ed Lavandera was along for the trip.

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Grapevine Releases Dash Cam Video of Police Shooting

On February 20, Rubén García Villalpando was shot and killed on the side of Highway 121 by a Grapevine police officer named Robert Clark. For months, activists and family members of the dead man have asked that the dash cam video from that night be released to the public.

Now that a grand jury has declined to indict Clark, the video has been released. Sort of.

Grapevine police put together this video, with footage from the dash cam mixed with the Grapevine police chief explaining what happened, from the perspective of law enforcement. It appears that Villalpando drove away from the officer despite sirens and lights, including weaving through cars on the highway. Then once he did pull over, he disobeys the officer’s orders to stay in the car. He tells the officer, in English, to kill him. Then approaches the officer despite at least 20 orders to move back and stay by the car.

The actual shooting takes place just out of frame. It seems like non-lethal force could have been an option, and other officers have made news by not killing people in similar circumstances. But by most standards, this looks justified. When Villalpando started moving toward Clark, the officer was probably too far away to use a Taser and already had his gun drawn. When Villalpando got close enough, Clark fired twice.

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Leading Off (5/14/15)

Head Shop Owners Arrested Over K2 Sales. Last summer DEA agents seized cash, cars, and synthetic marijuana from the Gas Pipe and its owners. Yesterday, those owners, Gerald “Jerry” Shults and his daughter, Amy Lynn Herrig, were arrested and charged with conspiring to sell the substance known as K2. Both Shults and Herrig are in federal custody and deny the allegations.

Van Mayor Criticized for Golfing. The city of Van was devastated by a tornado a few days ago. So people are pretty upset that mayor Dean Stone missed a scheduled press conference yesterday to play golf. Not a great look.

Some Places Have More Home Burglaries Than Others. The fine folks at our local CBS affiliate put together a map of the which zip codes in North Texas have the most home burglaries. Bad news for the people in East Fort Worth, Southeast Dallas, and East Plano.

District Attorney Will Hold Town Hall Meeting in Pleasant Grove. In anticipation of tonight’s forum, the Dallas Morning News put out a long-ish story rehashing the paper’s editorial complaints about Susan Hawk, which have more to do with her not answering the paper’s questions about her time in rehab than any specific policies or cases. There’s mention of what seems like a minor car accident and an unfiled financial report, and there are no fewer than 12 references (not counting the headline) to Hawk not answering questions or not commenting for the story. This is what it looks like when newspaper reporters don’t get the interview they were hoping for.

Oh Man I Miss Ron Washington. The former Texas Rangers manager, who resigned last Fall, has apparently been helping out with the University of New Orleans baseball team, in his hometown. Yesterday the 62-year-old Washington was spotted in the UNO dugout wearing a bright orange shirt that read MY BUCKET LIST: 1. Beer 2. Ice. In other news, the Rangers beat the Royals.

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Leading Off (5/6/15)

White House Investigating Possible ISIS Link in Garland Shooting. As Jason told you yesterday, ISIS is claiming credit for the attack this weekend in Garland. A White House spokesman said it was too early to say if the Islamic State was involved. Sen. Ted Cruz, ever the Obama fan, says federal officials should have intercepted the gunmen before they reached the anti-Muslim event in Garland. Meanwhile, the mother of one of the gunmen says she’s glad her son didn’t kill anyone. And a reporter remembers living next door to the same gunman.

Grand Jury Will Review Grapevine Police Shooting. In February Ruben Garcia Villalpando was shot and killed by a Grapevine police officer along the side of the road. The district attorney hasn’t released video of the shooting, saying it might compromise a criminal investigation. But the Lewisville police have released video from an arrest in December 2014, when Garcia Villalpando’s blood alcohol level was .30, nearly four times the legal limit to drive. Though clearly inebriated, he is also calm and cooperative. The CBS I-Team also looked into the background of Robert Clark, the officer who shot Garcia Villalpando. Clark was an officer at DFW for less than a year when he quit, and wasn’t hired at least one other force because of “deception and lack of moral turpitude.”

UNT Basketball Player Found Dead in Dorm. Eboniey Jeter was a 6’0 redshirt sophomore forward. She was discovered in her Mozart Hall dorm room yesterday morning. Her cause of death is still pending.

Carbon Monoxide Leak in South Oak Cliff. Several ambulances were deployed. At least five people were transported to the hospital, though officials believe the conditions are not life-threatening. The main suspect: a boiler room leak.

Domestic Abusers Must Turn Over Guns. Officials began confiscating firearms from convicted batterers yesterday in what is being called the most comprehensive program of its kind in the state — and possibly the country. So far, there doesn’t seem to be any opposition.

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Who Can We Blame for This Garland Shooting?

Here’s what we know: A group called the American Freedom Defense Initiative held a “Draw Muhammad” event yesterday in Garland. Organizers offered more than $10,000 for people to draw cartoons of Islam’s prophet and invited a Dutch politician known for his anti-Muslim views. Just before 7 p.m., two armed men showed up and shot at a security guard, wounding him in the ankle. Then Garland police killed both gunmen, who appear to be from Arizona.

Before the bodies were moved, reporters from outlets both foreign and domestic were on planes headed this way. Local comment sections and social media feeds were almost immediately filled with people either celebrating the deaths — posts on Facebook joked that the best art at the exhibit were the chalk outlines on the sidewalk — or decrying the event and its organizers as “irresponsible.”

At a press conference last night, some conservative media outlets pressed Garland police spokesman Joe Harn on why there was additional security at the event — measures that may have saved countless lives.

“Because of free speech,” someone suggested.

“I didn’t see anything about free speech in there,” Harn replied.

So what was it then?

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Leading Off (4/29/15)

Southwest Cancels Flights to Baltimore. As of this writing, things seem calm in Charm City. But the airline canceled at least 10 flights before last night’s curfew even went into effect, amid fears of rioting.

Independent Investigator Clears Richardson Mayor. Last month, there were calls for Laura Maczka’s resignation over accusations that a relationship with a developer affected her vote on zoning. Last night, a parade of citizens remarked on the relationship at the city council meeting. An investigator cleared Maczka on the ethics violations, but said she may have violated the Texas Freedom of Information Act when she didn’t turn over emails between her and the developer in question.

Video of Assistant DA’s DWI Arrest. The footage of Justin Moore, who was at the time a 27-year-old prosecutor with the Dallas DA’s office, serves as a lesson of what not to do on the off chance you’re ever pulled over after drinking. A quick list: 1) You shouldn’t try to speed away at over 100 mph. 2) You shouldn’t threaten to have the officers fired. 3) You shouldn’t ask the officers if they’re in the Ku Klux Klan. 4) You definitely shouldn’t call anyone an “Uncle Tom.” 5) You shouldn’t suggest that you hope you get fired. Because Justin Moore was.

Mavs Wish Rockets Well in Future Endeavors. The Houston Rockets beat the Mavericks last night, 103-94, clinching the series. Before the game was over, the Rockets team Twitter account posted a gun emoji next to a horse emoji and the words: “Shhhhh. Just close your eyes. It will all be over soon.” The Mavs responded gracefully, and the Rockets eventually apologized.

Dallas Cowboys Reveal Plans for Tomorrow Night’s Draft. There aren’t really any revelations here, but that’s how this story is billed. On a personal note, I’ve declared myself eligible for both the NFL and NBA drafts every year since I graduated high school. I feel like, despite my perceived lack of athletic prowess and my controversial statements about giraffes, I could really help the right organization. So far though, we haven’t found a GM gutsy enough to pull the trigger. Here’s hoping tomorrow night is the lucky night.

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Greg Hardy Suspended for 10 Games

If you’ll recall, a few months ago, the Dallas Cowboys signed defensive end Greg Hardy. Hardy played in only one game last season with the Carolina Panthers, after he was arrested and charged with assaulting and threatening to kill his ex-girlfriend. Hardy initially was found guilty, and a judge found that Hardy threw the woman down on a couch full of assault rifles and then faked a 911 call to frame her. (The case was eventually dismissed when the witness did not want to testify again, and Hardy received his full $13 million salary last year.)

A quick refresher, from the restraining order filed by Hardy’s ex-girlfriend:

“On May 13, 2014, Greg Hardy attacked me in his apartment. Hardy picked me up and threw me into the tile tub area in his bathroom. I have bruises from head to toe, including my head, neck, back, shoulders arms, legs, elbow and feet. Hardy pulled me from the tub by my hair, screaming at me that he was going to kill me, break my arms and other threats that I completely believe. He drug me across the bathroom and out into the bedroom. Hardy choked me with both hands around my throat while I was lying on the floor. Hardy picked me up over his head and threw me onto a couch covered in assault rifles and/or shotguns. I landed on those weapons. Hardy bragged that all of those assault rifles were loaded.”

The Cowboys were reportedly expecting a four-game suspension. Unlike in the Ray Rice case, this time the NFL apparently conducted an actual investigation that included viewing photos of Hardy’s bruised ex-girlfriend. Today the NFL announced Hardy’s suspension: 10 games, without pay.

ESPN’s Jane McManus says the NFL got it right. The league’s traditional defenders are calling this “the new NFL.” (So far there’s no mention of whether commissioner Roger Goodell will also have someone beat and choke Hardy, throw him onto a couch full of guns, or threaten to kill him.)

Hardy, who has never admitted any wrongdoing, is expected to appeal. And Cowboys fans are already wondering how this will affect the draft.

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Leading Off (4/22/15)

Poll Shows People Don’t Love the Toll Road. Of the people in the Dallas Morning News poll who have formed an opinion, only 23 percent favor putting a toll road between the levees. Among registered voters, 65 percent oppose the toll road. (Coincidentally, 65 percent of registered voters have been paying attention.) The graphics here have some pretty interesting breakdowns, too.

Mavs Lose Game Two. It was close for a while. Then it wasn’t. Then it was kind of terrible. “Playoff Rondo” wasn’t available, and regular Rondo spent a lot of the night on the bench. It’s going to be a long way back from here. Game three is Friday in Dallas.

Cowboys Schedule Released. The order of teams doesn’t tell us much, because, with the season still several months away, nobody knows who will be where yet. That week six bye is not an advantage, though. Stats show: the earlier the bye week, the better. Zac will be along at some point with a precise prediction of exactly how the season will play out.

Does Anyone Want a Donkey? The Humane Society of North Texas saved 32 donkeys from slaughter. Several were emaciated, all of them were suffering from respiratory and hoof problems, and 17 are pregnant. HSNT will house the donkeys until they are ready for adoption.

Stay Inside All Day. There will be a lot of bad weather later today, according to people who tend to know such things. If you believe in the dark arts of meteorology, prepare for severe storms for the rest of the week.

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Leading Off (4/15/15)

Probation Officer Admits Role in Violent Drug Ring. Selena Ball pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute cocaine. Ball, 30, of DeSoto, was in what’s being described as a “romantic relationship” with an inmate she was assigned to monitor. If not reporting serious probation violations, and facing up to 20 years in prison as a result, is your idea of romance.

Double Murder Suspect Killed in DeSoto. Colby Robinson was wanted in connection with two murders in Portland. He was spotted at a 7-Eleven. Then there was a chase. Then Robinson was pronounced dead at the scene.

Watauga Girl Escapes Kidnapping. “I was screaming, trying to get out and everything,” the girl said. She apparently chipped her tooth on the car door as she got away. Police are still looking for the suspect.

Johnny Football Attends Local Baseball Game. Looks like Johnny Manziel is out of rehab and back to sitting in prominent seats at sporting events. And the Rangers won.

Pay Your Taxes. It’s that day. I’m sorry. Here’s some free stuff.

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Why Rajon Rondo Fights With His Coaches (and Teammates, and Teachers, and Kids in the Hospital)

Baxter Holmes used to cover the Boston Celtics for the Boston Globe, which is where he first met Rajon Rondo. Not long ago, Holmes moved to Los Angeles and took a job with ESPN, ostensibly covering the Lakers, but also doing other things.

Other things like this new, lengthy profile of Rondo for ESPN: The Magazine. The story starts with Kevin Garnett describing a fight Rondo had with former Celtics coach Doc Rivers. (Garnett had to carry Rondo out of the room to keep him away from Rivers.) Holmes also talked to several other coaches who’ve worked with Rondo at various stages of his career, along with former teachers, trainers, a slew of former teammates, and Rondo’s personal statistician. (I’ve been meaning to get one of those.) They all describe a smart but caustic man, bored easily when he isn’t adequately challenged, and quick to dismiss anyone he doesn’t think is smart enough, which seems like most people.

The story gets into the specifics of the on-the-court spat between Rondo and Mavs coach Rick Carlisle earlier this season. There’s also a brief reference to Rondo’s now-famous Connect Four predilections:

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Glenn Beck Now Sells Women’s Clothing

If you’ll recall, last year I spent some time with Glenn Beck. We talked about a lot of things, including the empire of businesses he’s building in North Texas. And while he was already making movies, producing radio and television shows, writing and publishing books, and selling clothes (and accessories) to men, one thing he wasn’t doing — not until now anyway — was making women’s clothes.

According to a press release, the clothes are manufactured in Texas, with Beck “overseeing every step of the clothing design process including fabric selection, stitching, buttons, etc.” The nice people at The Blaze sent over a few shots from the new all-denim line.

Judge for yourself:

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Leading Off (4/8/15)

Ellis County Firefighters Charged With Sexual Assault Involving Chorizo. Five were charged with what looks like a hazing-related assault, and one was charged with videotaping it. There are more details in this story, and all of them are unpleasant.

Second Death in a Week at Argyle High School Construction Site. The first one was Thursday, when some heavy metal framework collapsed, killing a 36-year-old construction worker. Yesterday, it seems a 21-year-old man fell off of a trailer. Work on the new athletic facility was halted.

Dallas Police Front Desk Officers Make A Lot in Overtime. Chief Brown says it’s part of a budgetary balancing act. The 11 officers assigned to work security at police headquarters made a combined $330,000 in overtime pay last year. In other Dallas public employee bonus news: 58 executives at Parkland will not get their fourth quarter bonuses for 2014. The scene looked like this.

Local Fake Navy SEAL Arrested in Puerto Rico. Carlos Luna-Gonzalez was arrested last November in Weatherford, then jumped bail and fled. He was picked up yesterday, far away. Mostly I included this story because Parker County sheriff Larry Fowler (a character Zac may have invented) knows how to give a good sound bite.

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Leading Off (4/1/15)

Truck Crashes Into Store, Killing Woman. Fort Worth police arrested the 19-year-old driver on suspicion of intoxication manslaughter. The crash happened around 2:00 p.m. yesterday and left seven other people injured. Investigators said the truck was traveling between 80 and 100 miles per hour when the driver lost control and slammed into a Star Food Mart, killing a 24-year-old mother.

Second Suspect Surrenders in Deadly Butt Lift Case. Bond for Alicia Clarke was set at $25,000. Clarke is the alleged partner of Denise “Wewe” Ross, who turned herself in and bonded out of jail last week.

Susan Hawk Doesn’t Talk About Troubles to Law Students. Instead of getting into her personal issues or the troubles she’s faced in the last week at the office, the Dallas District Attorney told a class of SMU law students: “I know when you stand on the truth, you never fall down.” I don’t have any problem with her not going into this stuff right now, in a forum like that. A better forum would be a profile in D Magazine.

Tony Romo Says DeMarco Murray Asked Him to Take a Pay Cut. Romo also said he’d do it: “I would take $5 million less if it meant getting him back.” Easy for him to say, with Murray safely signed away in Philadelphia. I wonder, though, if this statement might lead to some awkwardness in the future, seeing as how a certain wide receiver is looking for a lucrative longterm deal.

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Leading Off (3/18/15)

Crazy Kidnapping Drama Ends in Haslet. Nathanial Tillery allegedly assaulted Kevin Garcia, a 55-year-old convenience store clerk in College Station, then stole Garcia’s truck — after loading Garcia’s unconscious body into the bed. The saga ended just before 1:30 p.m. yesterday when Police and Texas Rangers arrested Tillery in Tarrant County.

Lying Officer Could Be a Problem for Prosecutors. This is a bizarre story. A self-proclaimed “resident expert” on DWIs, Sgt. Stephen “Tiny” Baker of the Dallas Police Department, insists he pulled over a car in 2012 because he saw the car run a red light. This, despite video evidence that it was, in fact, Baker, who ran the red light. Experts say this could put at risk other cases in which Baker testified. He’s on administrative leave pending investigation.

Oswald Cutout Bothers People at JFK Memorial. Yep. It’s a cutout.

The Cowboys Could Sign Greg Hardy. Here is a story about how the Cowboys might soon finalize a deal with defensive end Greg Hardy, who had 26 sacks in his last two full seasons in Carolina. Here is an excerpt from a protective order filed by Hardy’s ex-girlfriend:

“On May 13, 2014, Greg Hardy attacked me in his apartment. Hardy picked me up and threw me into the tile tub area in his bathroom. I have bruises from head to toe, including my head, neck, back, shoulders arms, legs, elbow and feet. Hardy pulled me from the tub by my hair, screaming at me that he was going to kill me, break my arms and other threats that I completely believe. He drug me across the bathroom and out into the bedroom. Hardy choked me with both hands around my throat while I was lying on the floor. Hardy picked me up over his head and threw me onto a couch covered in assault rifles and/or shotguns. I landed on those weapons. Hardy bragged that all of those assault rifles were loaded.”

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Leading Off (3/11/15)

Parker Rice Apologizes. We told you about Rice yesterday. The family of Levi Pettit, the other expelled OU student seen on the recent racist chant video (and a former golf standout at Highland Park), also issued an apology. “It was wrong and reckless,” Rice said in a statement issued through his father.

Why Haven’t Police Released Dash-cam Video of Grapevine Shooting? The District Attorney has reportedly asked that the video, taken moments before an officer killed an unarmed Mexican citizen, not be made public. I don’t understand the logic here. No matter what’s on that video, the public should see it, no?

Eddie Ray Routh Transferred to Correctional Psychiatric Facility. It appears the recently convicted killer of American Sniper Chris Kyle was transferred to the Jester IV unit, outside of Houston. Dr. Phil also spoke with Routh’s parents not long ago.

Kurt Eichenwald Thinks Hillary Clinton’s Email Woes Are a “Fake Scandal.” The Dallas writer begins his Newsweek column thusly: “When it comes to the teapot tempest that is the Hillary Clinton email imbroglio, the real controversy isn’t about politics or regulations. It’s about journalism and the weak standards employed to manufacture the scandal du jour.”

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