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Texas police officers refused to escort Biden bus, lawsuit alleges: 'Threatened my life'

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Police officials in Texas refused to escort a Biden campaign bus that was surrounded by Trump supporters last October, an amended lawsuit alleges. 

San Marcos police “privately laughed” and “joked about the victims and their distress” in 911 audio recordings, according to the suit. The federal lawsuit was amended late Friday with transcriptions of the 911 recordings. 

Video from Oct. 30, 2020, shows a group of cars and pick-up trucks flying Trump 2020 flags driving alongside the Biden campaign bus on a highway, and boxing the bus in at some points. A minor traffic incident also occurred, when a pro-Trump truck made contact with a white SUV accompanying the Biden campaign bus. Both cars continued moving during the incident. 

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A San Marcos police corporal on duty during the incident, Mathew Daenzer, refused to provide an escort after another jurisdiction’s urging, according to the transcripts in the lawsuit. 

“I am so annoyed at New Braunfels for doing this to us,” a dispatcher told Daenzer, who laughed, according to the transcribed recording in the filing. “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.”

“No, we’re not going to do it,” Daenzer told a 911 dispatcher, according to the amended filing. “We will ‘close patrol’ that, but we’re not going to escort a bus.”

“[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,” the dispatcher told Daenzer, explaining how the Biden campaign team was feeling during the incident. 

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Daenzer said the Biden bus should “drive defensively and it’ll be great.”

“Or leave the train,” the 911 dispatcher responded, according to the transcript. “There’s an idea.”

The dispatcher got back on the line with the Biden campaign staff and said no escort would be provided to them from San Marcos. 

“If you feel like you’re being threatened or your life is threatened, definitely call us back,” she told him.

“Are you kidding me, ma’am?” the staffer responded, and said “they’ve threatened my life on multiple occasions with vehicular collision.” The staffer then again asked for an escort. 

President-elect Joe Biden speaks at The Queen theater, Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020, in Wilmington, Del. 

President-elect Joe Biden speaks at The Queen theater, Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020, in Wilmington, Del. 
((AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)        )

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The dispatcher said authorities would monitor traffic infractions, but that there would not be an escort. She indicated the decision was made by a high-ranking police official, which the lawsuit alleges is San Marcos assistant police chief Brandon Winkenwerder. 

The original suit was filed against Chase Stapp, San Marcos’ director of public safety, and the San Marcos city marshal’s department, the Texas Tribune reported. The suit claims plaintiffs suffer psychological and emotional injury from the event and are seeking compensatory and punitive damages, as well as coverage of  legal fees.

The incident led to the Texas Democrats canceling three scheduled campaign events over “safety concerns.” 

The suit was expanded to include Daenzer, Winkenwerder and the city of San Marcos. It alleges that by refusing help, officers violated the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871 because they were aware of “acts of violent political intimidation.”

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Former state Sen. Wendy Davis is among the suit’s plaintiffs. 

The city of San Marcos’ communication team did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment on the amended suit.

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