Michael Barajas

Michael Barajas is a staff writer covering civil rights for the Observer. Before joining the Observer, he was editor of the San Antonio Current and managing editor of the Houston Press. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism. You can reach him on Twitter or at [email protected].

By Michael Barajas:

Criminal Justice

Meet the Expert Who Helps Texas Cops Justify Extreme Behavior

Gilbert Flores’ hands were raised when two Bexar County deputies shot and killed him. A former cop who’s trained thousands of state police officers explains why he thinks that’s OK.

Gilbert Flores was already taunting the cops when his mother called 911 the morning of August 28, 2015. “My son, he’s gone crazy, I think he’s on drugs, I’m not sure but he’s crazy,” she told the dispatcher. She’d heard … Read More


‘Bathroom Bill’ Opposition Mounts after Trans Activist is Brutally Attacked

Opponents, including activist Stephanie Martinez and Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo, say the ‘bathroom bill’ would further fuel anti-trans violence.

Stephanie Martinez told police she met the guy online. Seventeen-year-old Rayshad Deloach, or “Jay” as she knew him, said he wanted to know more about transgender issues. So Martinez — a transgender woman, LGBT activist and familiar face at the … Read More

LGBT Rights

Trans Texans, Advocates Swarm Texas Capitol to Oppose ‘Bathroom Bills’ (Again)

On Friday, more than 250 people signed up to testify, and the overwhelming majority spoke in opposition.

Hundreds of people formed a line that snaked through the Texas Capitol’s basement early Friday, waiting to testify as lawmakers continue to push a so-called bathroom bill targeting transgender Texans. LGBT activists and allies swarmed the Senate State Affairs Committee … Read More

Human Rights

Trump DOJ: Trust Texas to Fix Racist Voter ID Law Without Court Oversight

The new legal brief is a sign of the Justice Department’s dramatically different take on voting rights under the Trump Administration.

Under the Obama administration, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) waged legal war against the voter ID rules Texas lawmakers passed in 2011, saying the new restrictions would disproportionately impact minority voters. That finding was later validated by multiple federal … Read More


‘Bathroom Bills’ Get Second Life in Special Session

Three different proposals to discriminate against transgender Texans await lawmakers in what critics have dubbed the “Session of Oppression.”

In late May, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick monkey-wrenched the 85th Texas Legislature as lawmakers entered the final days of the regular session, threatening to hold must-pass legislation hostage unless he got his way on a couple of red-meat conservative items. … Read More