Recent audits of the city’s cadet training spotlight a warrior-cop culture that pervades policing, even in a so-called progressive city.
An averted tragedy first made Summer Spisak consider the drastic career change that landed her in Austin’s police training academy. A police officer, she says, “literally saved my family member’s life, essentially by talking them down from committing suicide.” Around … Read More
In his new book, journalist Maurice Chammah ties Texas' embrace of capital punishment to the state's frontier mythos.
From the January/February 2021 issue. Dalton Coble didn’t know his grandfather particularly well, but stories of Billie Wayne Coble have cast a shadow over his family since before he was born. In August 1989, Billie murdered his estranged wife’s parents and … Read More
COVID-19 has increased separation and isolation at a time of crisis for incarcerated people and their families.
Justin Phillips didn’t have much of a relationship left with his 5-year-old son by the time he was sentenced to 10 years in prison on drug charges in 2016. “I hadn’t seen him in a long time; I’d been out … Read More
Eric Fagan, elected during a larger national reckoning on race and law enforcement, will lead an office that has been under fire for racial profiling.
Walter Moses Burton was 21 years old and living in slavery when he arrived to Texas in 1850. The wealthy white planter who enslaved Burton also taught him to read and write; after emancipation, he sold Burton several large plots … Read More
José Garza represents a new wave of reform-minded DAs who want to end the war on drugs and prosecute police officers who kill.
“Progressive prosecutor” can sound like a catchall descriptor for any district attorney willing to pack fewer bodies into jails and prisons. But one race this year seems to have redefined the term. In a July primary runoff, José Garza, a … Read More
As the growing number of Black and Latinx voters threaten the GOP’s stranglehold on power, attempts to limit safe voting options during the pandemic reveal a deeper sickness in Texas politics.
This article was published in partnership with The Nation. Founded by abolitionists in 1865, The Nation has chronicled the breadth and depth of political and cultural life from the debut of the telegraph to the rise of Twitter, serving as … Read More
Conservative media have turned Tarrant County Sheriff Bill Waybourn into a right-wing celebrity despite a long list of scandals on his watch.
On May 17, a pregnant woman delivered a baby alone and locked inside her cell at the Tarrant County jail. After the Fort Worth Star-Telegram broke the story later that month, Sheriff Bill Waybourn, who manages the facility, explained in … Read More
Henderson says policing in the U.S. perpetuates systems of inequality that mirror the nation’s history of colonialism.
The uprising sparked by the police killing of George Floyd on May 25 has pushed the debate around public safety into territory that would have seemed unthinkable in Texas just months ago. Howard Henderson, director of the Center for Justice … Read More
Protests to remove racist statues and iconography are part of a larger effort to reframe Texas history.
A Monumental Undertaking Protests to remove racist statues and iconography are part of a larger effort to reframe Texas history. By Michael Barajas August 11, 2020 The party Demetria McFarland’s family throws every Juneteenth is so big they usually … Read More