Things That Matter

Texas Lawmaker Cesar de Leon Has Resigned After Being Recorded Using The N-Word

Cesar de Leon, a city official from Brownsville, Texas, recently sparked a scandal after being caught on tape using racial slurs. Despite calls for his resignation, de Leon says he will remain in his post.

Roughly two weeks ago, an audio recording was leaked featuring Brownsville City Commissioner Cesar de Leon saying the N-word. While the N-word is the most offensive thing that is said on the recording, the entire clip is really disturbing.

The Brownsville Herald reports that de Leon was talking about two black district attorneys who worked for the Cameron County District Attorney’s Office.

“There are a couple of [F-word and N-word] that Luis Saenz is getting, and I don’t know where he is getting them from,” de Leon says in the recording. “They are coming down to my [F-word] city and now they are trying to [F-word] put everybody in jail because they think we are a bunch of Mexicans that hit our wives, which couldn’t be further from the [F-word] truth, but that is how they see us.”

WARNING: Profanity And Strong Language

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That recording, which was shared on social media, forced Brownsville District Attorney Luis Saenz to comment on de Leon, who works in his office.

“The people of Cameron County expect me to hire the most competent prosecutors that I can find, without regard to their race, and that is what I strive to do. Mr. de Leon’s remarks are very shameful and hurtful,” Saenz said, according to The Brownsville Herald. “It is extremely disappointing that they are made by a lawyer and a representative of the City of Brownsville.”

De Leon did apologize, somewhat, for what he said. He didn’t, however, apologize for actually saying the N-word, only that he the general public had to hear it.

I want to begin by apologizing,” de Leon said in a statement to The Brownsville Herald. “I want to apologize to the citizens of Brownsville or whoever had to listen to those tapes because there is a lot of profane language and that was a private conversation. It was never meant to be public, but it’s very important that people understand that I’m very apologetic.”

Many lawmakers in the city have expressed they want de Leon to resign.

Saenz told NBC affiliate KVEO, “His remarks stand for themselves, speak for themselves. They are racist today, they were racist yesterday, and will be racist tomorrow.”

Veronica Sanders, a Brownsville assistant district attorney that de Leon was referring to in the recording said, according to NBC: “He is not a representation of what Brownsville is or how Brownsville thinks. When you have a person who steps out and says something like that I think it’s time for you to step down.”

On Tuesday night, de Leon addressed the City of Brownsville in a public meeting and said that while he did something terrible, he will not give up his seat.

BPL Social Media / YouTube

“I made a terrible mistake, but please believe, I still stand against injustice, unfair, and unlawful treatment of any American regardless of race, religion, age or social standing. I will not stop honoring my commitment to the people of Brownsville, nor will I back down in my fight for our great community.”

According to the Brownsville Herald, the people that were in the commission chambers – mostly made up of residents of Brownsville – applauded de Leon when he was done speaking.

Brownsville Mayor Tony Martinez released a statement when the recording came out saying that de Leon’s hate speech “violates the character of our city.”

“The opinions expressed on the audio recordings do not in any way represent the beliefs or policies of the City of Brownsville or its residents. As Mayor of the great City of Brownsville, I denounce the use of racist language or behaviors. We must not allow these comments to detract from the progress that our residents, city staff and City Commission have made to establish Brownsville as an inclusive, welcoming community that values diversity.”

UPDATE: 

On Friday, October 6, Cesar de Leon submitted a letter of resignation, citing conflicts of interest as his reason for stepping down. “There’s a conflict of interest that has risen between my profession and the commission. Because I’m a practicing attorney conflicts could arise because of the city,” said de Leon to the Brownsville Herald.

READ: Federal Judge Temporarily Blocks SB4 In Texas, But The Fight Is Not Over

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George Floyd Begs Police Not To Shoot Him In Recently Leaked Body-Cam Footage

Things That Matter

George Floyd Begs Police Not To Shoot Him In Recently Leaked Body-Cam Footage

Karem Yucel / Getty Images

It’s been more than two months since the tragic death of George Floyd. Since his death, the country has been struggling on how to cope with yet another senseless loss of a Black man at the hands of police officers. Massive protests have taken place in nearly every corner of the country – or globe for that matter.

Yet, two months after his death we continue to learn new heartbreaking details about the circumstances of his last moments. Newly released body-cam footage, obtained by the Daily Mail show in greater detail the moments leading up to the now infamous video of Officer Chauvin’s knee pressed into George Floyd’s neck. In the leaked footage, we see officers approach a man who was no threat with their guns drawn. We see a panicked Floyd beg officers not to shoot him.

New body-cam footage offers amother perspective into Floyd’s arrest and death.

Newly released, partial footage obtained by the Daily Mail from the body cameras worn by two of the now-former Minneapolis police officers involved in the arrest and death of George Floyd, show a panicked man begging for mercy. The footage reveals in greater detail the events surrounding the horrific arrest that led to Floyd’s death.

The eight-minute video starts with the officers approaching Floyd as he sat in his car, and ordering him to put up his hands. Floyd appears nervous and is immediately apologetic, but doesn’t initially follow their instructions to show his hands. In response, Lane pulls out his handgun and aims it at Floyd. Floyd complies, putting his hands on the wheel and tells the officer he’s sorry and asks what he’s done wrong.

Later in the video, following a struggle in the back of a police car, Officer Thomas Lane can be heard asking Officer Derek Chauvin whether Floyd should be rolled on his side. Floyd died May 25 while in custody, and the incident — which was also recorded on cell phone video — set off protests that soon went worldwide. The demonstrations over his killing and the deaths of other African Americans at the hands of police prompted intense discussions on racism in America.

The footage includes officer Thomas Lane, who at one point aims a gun at Floyd’s face – Floyd begs him not to shoot.

Credit: Karem Yucel / Getty Images

In the video, footage shows police first approach Floyd’s car and asks him to put his hands on the steering wheel. Floyd doesn’t comply with the officer’s demands until Officer Lane draws his gun.

Floyd begs the officer not to shoot, “Please don’t shoot me Mr. Officer,” Floyd says. Lane then gets Floyd to come out of the car and puts him in handcuffs. Officer Kueng can be heard telling Floyd “stop resisting.” 

Lane then begins interviewing a man and woman who were with Floyd in the car. “Why is he getting all squirrely and not showing us his hands?” Lane asks the two. “Because he’s been shot before,” a woman, who identifies herself as Floyd’s ex, tells the officer. 

“He’s a good guy,” the male passenger adds. 

The video then cuts to the two officers leading Floyd to their SUV. As they try to get him to sit in the back of the car, Floyd appears to grow desperate.

Floyd’s family has issued a statement about the newly released footage.

Credit: Dawn Shawnee / Getty Images

Ben Crump, an attorney for the Floyd family, issued a statement to CNN in response to the video’s release:

“The police officers approached him with guns drawn, simply because he was a Black man. As this video shows, he never posed any threat. The officers’ contradictions continue to build. If not for the videos, the world might never have known about the wrongs committed against George Floyd.”

All four officers involved in Floyd’s arrest were fired from the department the following day, and have all been charged in connection to his death. 

Chauvin faces charges of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter, while the three other officers were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder.

One Year Later, The Latino Community Remembers The El Paso Shooting

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One Year Later, The Latino Community Remembers The El Paso Shooting

Mario Tama / Getty Images

On August 3, 2019, a man entered a Walmart in El Paso, Texas and killed 23 customers and injured 23 more. The shooter, Patrick Crusius, went to the Walmart with the expressed purpose of killing Mexican and Mexican-Americans. One year later, the community is remembering those lost.

One year ago today, a man killed 23 people in an El Paso Walmart targeting our community.

The Latino community was stunned when Patrick Crusius opened fire and killed 23 people in El Paso, Texas. The gunman wrote a manifesto and included his desire to kill as many Mexicans and Mexican-Americans he could in the El Paso Walmart. The days after were filled with grieving the loss of 23 people and trying to understand how this kind of hate could exist in our society.

Representative Veronica Escobar, who represents El Paso, is honoring the victims today.

Rep. Escobar was on the scene shortly after the shooting to be there for her community. The shooting was a reminder of the dangers of the anti-Latino and xenophobic rhetoric that the Trump administration was pushing for years.

“One year ago, our community and the nation were shocked and heartbroken by the horrific act of domestic terrorism fueled by racism and xenophobia that killed 23 beautiful souls, injured 22, and devasted all of us,” Rep. Escobar said in a statement. “Today will be painful for El Pasoans, especially for the survivors and the loved ones of those who were killed, but as we grieve and heal together apart, we must continue to face hate with love and confront xenophobia by treating the stranger with dignity and hospitality.”

El Pasoans are coming together today to remember the victims of the violence that day.

Latinos are a growing demographic that will soon eclipse the white communities in several states. Some experts in demographic shifts understand that this could be a terrifying sign for the white population. These changing demographics give life to racist and hateful ideologies.

“When you have a few people of color, the community is not seen so much as a threat,” Maria Cristina Morales, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Texas at El Paso, told USA Today about the fear of changing demographics. “But the more that the population grows – the population of Latinos grow for instance – the more fear that there’s going to be a loss of power.”

The international attack is still felt today because of the constant examples of white supremacy still active today.

“It doesn’t occur to you that there’s a war going on, and there’s always been a war going on—the helicopters the barbed wire—but you just kind of didn’t see it,” David Dorado Romo, an El Paso historian who lost a friend in the shooting, told Time Magazine.

The sudden reminder of the hate out there towards the Latino community was felt nationwide that day. The violent attack that was planned out revealed the true cost of that hate that has been pushed by some politicians.

“El Paso families have the right to live free from fear, and I will continue to honor the victims and survivors with action,” Rep. Escobar said in her statement. “Fighting to end the gun violence and hate epidemics that plague our nation.”

READ: As El Paso Grieves Their Loss, Here Is Everything We Know About The Victims Of The El Paso Massacre, Which Were Mostly Latino