Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission seeks to block release of records about whether its agents adequately intervened in attempted murder

The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission asked Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton to block the release of records about a July 23, 2016 incident where two TABC agents allegedly failed to intervene in a shooting that they witnessed in Dallas.

agency patchBack on July 26, I received this tip from a retired TABC agent:

Sometime over the last few evenings a TABC vehicle containing a veteran Sgt and a newer agent was stopped at a red light in the Dallas area. Another vehicle was stopped two lanes over in the same direction. This vehicle contained numerous African Americans and they started shouting threats and slurs toward the TABC vehicle. A second vehicle pulled into the lane that separated the TABC vehicle and the first vehicle. This second vehicle also contained African Americans. Suddenly a person exited the second vehicle with a handgun and fired numerous shots at point blank range into the first vehicle. The TABC Sgt and agent drew their weapons but DID not engage the shooter but instead waited until he reentered the second vehicle and drove away. The TABC vehicle followed until they lost the vehicle containing the shooter.

The TABC Arlington Major commended the Sgt for the action she took and not engaging the suspect. Unknown if any injuries or deaths.

I filed a public information request on the following day, and last week TABC attorney Charles Wallace requested a legal opinion from Mr. Paxton about whether the agency was required to release the records. Mr. Wallace also notified the Dallas Police Department that it might want to object to the release of the records.*

According to Mr. Wallace’s letter to Dallas PD, the shooting occurred “at the intersection of Beltline and Preston Road at 1:30 on July 23, 2016” (the letter does not indicate whether the time was 1:30 a.m. or p.m.). “Two (2) TABC agents were witnesses to the shooting incident and provided their information to the Dallas Police Department,” he wrote.

So if two sworn law enforcement officers witnessed an attempted murder, what did they do to apprehend the suspect or suspects? Did they follow the shooter as passive witnesses, or did they light up their ride and try to chase him down?

These are pertinent questions, because law enforcement sources inside and outside of TABC tell me that our old friend Sherry Cook, the TABC director, has largely neutered the law enforcement role of TABC agents, pushing them instead to work administrative cases and generate revenue via fines. Those sources tell me that TABC brass have, in particular, dissuaded agents from working human trafficking and organized crime cases. If so, that’s truly unfortunate, because TABC agents are in a unique position to investigate those crimes since they spend so much time undercover in bars and clubs.

Meanwhile, I’ve found no media reports about the July 23 shooting, so I suspect the shooter missed his target or targets.  No surprise there. It sounds like a gang fight, and gang bangers think it looks cool to turn their guns sideways, which explains why most of them can’t hit the broad side of a barn.

* The letters were sent to me in docx format via email, so the formatting is off in both letters and the date is off on the letter to Dallas PD.

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