An ongoing federal lawsuit alleged revealed last week that police officials and 911 dispatchers in San Marcos, Texas allegedly ignored and even laughed at calls from a Joe Biden campaign bus requesting a police escort during an October 2020 incident in which supporters of then-President Donald Trump followed the Biden bus on a Texas highway.
The 2020 incident on a Central Texas highway is the subject of an ongoing federal lawsuit, which was filed by former Democrat state Sen. Wendy Davis and others who were traveling on the Biden campaign bus. In an amended complaint filed last week, reported by Texas Tribune, the plaintiffs argue transcripts of their 911 calls show police and dispatchers refused their requests for an escort.
The lawsuit argues law enforcement officers who declined the calls for help violated the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871 because they were aware of “acts of violent political intimidation” but did not take appropriate measures to prevent them.
At one point during the 2020 Texas highway incident, a pro-Biden white SUV that had been closely following the Biden campaign bus and a pro-Trump black truck collided in the black truck’s lane.
A woman who recorded the video said the white SUV had been swerving back and forth around vehicles flying pro-Trump flags and taking up two lanes at a time.
The amended complaint now lists San Marcos Police corporal Matthew Daenzer, assistant police chief Brandon Winkenwerder and the city itself as defendants in the case.
In one of the transcribed calls, a dispatcher told Daenzer, “I am so annoyed at New Braunfels for doing this to us. They have their officers escorting this Biden bus, essentially, and the Trump Train is cutting in between vehicles and driving — being aggressive and slowing them down to like 20 or 30 miles per hour. And they want you guys to respond to help.”
According to the transcript, Daenzer began laughing during the dispatcher’s call, and said “No, we’re not going to do it.”
Daenzer instead said, “We will ‘close patrol’ that, but we’re not going to escort a bus.”
The dispatcher told Daenzer, “[T]hey’re like really worked up over it and he’s like breathing hard and stuff, like, ‘they’re being really aggressive.’ Okay. Calm down.”
At one point, Daenzer said the Biden campaign bus should “drive defensively and it’ll be great.”
“Or leave the train,” the 911 dispatcher replied. “There’s an idea.”
According to the transcript, the dispatcher got back on the line with the Biden campaign bus to tell the campaigners that San Marcos police would not be providing an escort.
“If you feel like you’re being threatened or your life is threatened, definitely call us back,” the dispatcher said.
One campaign staffer on the line replied, “Are you kidding me, ma’am? They’ve threatened my life on multiple occasions with vehicular collision”
The dispatcher told the campaign staffer that officers would be there to watch for any traffic infractions but reiterated that there would be no police escort and that the decision came from a high-ranking police official, which the lawsuit alleges was Winkenwerder.
Police in Kyle reportedly joined the Biden campaign bus, during which time the Trump supporters backed off. According to the lawsuit, after Kyle police left the escort at the Travis County line, the Trump supporters “resumed their threatening behavior.”
According to the lawsuit, the “Trump Train” followed the Biden campaign bus all the way to a campaign stop in Austin and the Biden campaign canceled multiple events along the way.
A spokesperson for the city of San Marcos did not immediately respond to a Texas Tribune request for comment. Texas Tribune also could not immediately reach Daenzer and Winkenwerder for comment.