The first of the two lawsuits filed this week names San Marcos Director of Public Safety Chase Stapp and local police, while the other identifies numerous Trump supporters.
Texas police are accused of failing to “protect and serve” when they were notified about dozens of vehicles filled with Trump supporters allegedly trying to run a Biden campaign bus off the road while they were headed to a campaign event in October of last year.
The Biden backers, which include former Texas State Sen. Wendy Davis, allege multiple acts of political violence were carried out by Trump supporters in Texas, describing people brandishing weapons and sending death threats to people riding the Biden campaign bus.
The lawsuit also claims the “ambush” on the Texas highway, some of which was caught on camera, was an organized effort and forced campaign vehicles to slow down to 15-25 mph on an interstate with a speed limit of 70 mph.
Davis claimed in a January interview with the Texas Tribune that San Antonio police responded to calls for help and pushed Trump vehicles away from the bus, but as the bus was later surrounded again, San Marcos police did not offer the same assistance, as they questioned jurisdiction on the interstate.
“They just kept saying, ‘Where are you now? Where are you now,’” she said. “We kept giving them landmark after landmark, mile marker after mile marker… Never were we able to get anyone to come out. It was unbelievable.”
A police spokesperson said at the time that officers were simply not able to catch up to the bus before it left the city limits due to traffic. Stapp later stated no advance help was requested by the campaign, leading to the confusion.
The Biden campaign canceled three events that day, citing “safety concerns.”
The suits claim Trump supporters violated the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871, which legally prevents two or more people from using intimidation to attempt to prevent others from voting or expressing political speech.
“They tried to run the bus off the road. The Trump Train live-streamed their behavior on social media, bragging about their aggressive driving, showing how dangerously close they were driving to the bus and its escorting vehicles, and openly speculating about who might be on the bus they were targeting – including, they hoped, then-Vice Presidential Candidate Kamala Harris,” one of the lawsuits states.
While many Trump critics were outraged by the vehicular incident when it was first reported, the former president waved off the encounter and said, “these patriots did nothing wrong” at the time.
The suits claim alleged victims in the incident have suffered “ongoing psychological and emotional injury” in the months since it happened.
The lawsuits have been filed by nonprofit groups Protect Democracy and The Texas Civil Rights Project, bus driver Timothy Holloway, Biden campaign volunteer Eric Cervini, Biden campaign staffer David Gins, and Davis.
At a press conference regarding the suits, Holloway, who is black, chalked up the incident to “old-school voter intimidation” and said it was “just like what happened in the old days, when they ran colored people out of the town.”
Others described fearing for their lives, and said the suits are about “accountability,” though they are seeking compensatory damages.
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