Member of New Braunfels’ Diversity Council Warns City Needs to Make People of Color Feel Safe
Lynn McCord, who serves on New Braunfels’ Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Awareness (IDEA) Council, says her heart “burned” on Monday as she watched graphic, expletive-laced bodycam footage of a white New Braunfels police officer tasing a black man he pulled over for a “dirty license plate.”
“Watching this video today was pretty hurtful,” she said.
The video of the January traffic stop in New Braunfels was livestreamed during a press conference hastily convened by city officials after mediation with New Braunfels resident Clarence Crawford, who was tased, failed.
City of New Braunfels formed IDEA earlier this year after unrest over George Floyd’s death at the hands of police officers swept the nation and a Black Lives Matter protest was scheduled downtown on June 2. The diversity council picked up speed in September after the New Braunfels Trump Train dragged a Black Lives Matter flag along one of its parade routes and someone from out of state erected a ‘Used-Mexicans’ billboard on I-35 near Creekside.
Mayor Rusty Brockman responded to concerns raised by these incidents and reached out to Bishop Michael Franklin, president of the New Braunfels MLK Association, after the Sept. 3 incident with the Trump Train. In a statement, Brockman defended constitutional rights of free speech and assembly and promised the city would not turn a blind eye to issues that made residents feel threatened or afraid.
But IDEA members did not know that city officials also were embroiled in another case of racial intimidation entirely of their own making — or, that the unexpected “retirement” of Police Chief Tom Wibert in October was actually tied to the way New Braunfels Police Department officer Kaleb Meyer mismanaged Crawford’s arrest.
At the press conference on Monday, City Manager Robert Camareno explained officials withheld information about the incident for 11 months at Crawford’s request.
“We actually did want to make the video public sooner, however out of respect for Mr. Crawford, he asked us not to do so,” he said. “Mediation concluded unsuccessfully recently, so we chose in the interest of transparency to show the video to our community and talk about the things that we are doing to address the issues.”
McCord said she can understand why the city did this. She works in the insurance business and understands the importance of following all legal guidance.
“For them to put this story out the way they did sends a loud message that we’re not standing for racism in this community,” said McCord, who works on IDEA’s Education and Awareness Committee. “I feel like this is a big step. Is the timing later than I would have liked? Yes. But is the timing also right where it needs to be? Yes. Because of the contentious election environment in this town.”
As bad as Monday’s video is, she said people of color in New Braunfels are worried about a something just as horrific, if not worse — the 300- to 500-vehicle ‘Trump Train’ that rolls around the city up to several times a week, honking horns, waving flags, screaming at minorities and creating traffic nuisances for several hours each evening.
The group, which also talks about fasting, prayer and revival, schedules weekly prayer meetings at Landa Park or on private property. Because there are three parade routes, New Braunfels residents can never be certain which roadways might be clogged by heavy traffic.
One Black woman told MyCanyonLake.com off-the-record that people of color know better than to hang around outside in New Braunfels atter dark on Thursday, when the Trump Train usually schedules a weekly foray.
This feels like intimidation to Blacks and Hispanics, McCord said.
Speaking in September, Bishop Michael Franklin, president of the New Braunfels MLK Association, warned city officials that the Trump Train’s displays and acts of racism threatened “the very fiber of our community’s peace and safety.”
New Braunfels needs to figure out how to make sure its citizens feel safe from the Trump Train, McCord said.
“It’s one thing to do a couple of gatherings during the election,” she said. “It’s something else to keep this going and target New Braunfels…it’s bringing an aura of violence to the city that I don’t care for. It feels like it’s a gang…a racist person is always a racist person. But the stuff they’re stirring up and the level of hatred they’re stirring up is beyond something that we’ve ever seen here. The Trump Train has run its course.”
McCord credits the city for earlier actions, like hiring diversity expert Richard Lewis, Ph.D, a sociology professor at University of Texas San Antonio, and speaking out publicly against racism.
But IDEA has ideas other about how to move forward. The 20-member group has met four times and at its last meeting tied actionable goals to objectives.
McCord said her job is helping to educate New Braunfels residents about diversity and equity.
“How do police and the community work together, what does education look like?” she asked. “I want to hear what the police department subcommittee reports back because now my ears are perking up on that subgroup and what they’re working on.”
New Braunfels police need more training, especially on how to understand culture differences or concerns that people of color share about police, she said.
Meanwhile, McCord said she’s grateful for body cams because they shed light on abusive behavior by police.
Since September, New Braunfels has done little publicly to enact any restrictions on the unruly Trump Train, although images posted to social media on Sunday show several flag-festooned Trump trucks parked at police station, their occupants complaining that officers did little after organizer Randi Ceh’s vehicle was struck by a paint ball.
On Nov. 5, organizers Steve Ceh and Jason Frank complained on a Facebook livestream that city officials treated them like criminals during a meeting scheduled right before Nov. 3. Because there was no quorum, details of that meeting were not made available to the public.
I’m a light skinned Hispanic. Because of this I’ve been called some pretty horrible names by blacks and other Hispanics who I presume support the admitted Marxist group of BLM and antifa. I’m terrified to walk the streets during the day in places like Austin, San Antonio, Houston and other racist strongholds. While group attendees in the IDEA forum happily pay homage to Round Top Consulting and clamor to honor their racist verbiage and demeaning actions, the City of New Braunfels led by Rusty Brockman are PAYING these people with taxpayer money to demean and humiliate the residents of Comal County and New Braunfels by calling them racist. But, WE know the ones who scream the loudest ARE the racists. For instance, Pastor Franklin a member of this IDEA forum puts on airs of believing in the words and vision of MLK Jr. But, MLK, Jr has turned over in his grave a million times because of people like this. Those infamous words “Judge a man not by the color of his skin, but by the content of his character.” Too bad this group has NO desire to do this. You should be ashamed of yourselves. I know a huge number of the long-time black residents of New Braunfels and Canyon Lake and they are appalled of the way the City of New Braunfels is wrapping their arms around these Judas. When I attended an IDEA meeting and said to the group hearing Morgan Freeman’s interview, where he was asked how to stop racism. His response was to quit talking about it. You should have seen the group shaking their heads no. CITY LEADERS SHAKING THEIR HEADS NO!! This same group wants our city “leaders” to not only ENCOURAGE demonstrations, but do this ridiculous diversity bs of all of our first responders. THEY JUST WANT TO DIVIDE US!! These people KNOW how to make a person feel guilty, they have tons of experience doing so and our leaders are wallowing in guilt as I speak. Well, that dog won’t hunt here. And if the City/county/school districts don’t have the intestinal fortitude to stand up to them then we the citizens need it, then we need to elect people who will. This IDEA forum should’ve NEVER received one dime for what I call their “intentional locust destruction” of towns, cities like ours and states like Texas. Yep, the ONCE great state of California and Colorado are no longer. They’ve been destroyed by the blue Locust. If I have to walk the streets and knock on every door to get signatures to recall the “people” who are running our cities and counties, I will. I have ZERO fear!!! When these dems tell a lie long enough, it becomes the truth…But NOT ON MY WATCH!!
Really tired of all this race baiting and discrimination against the Trump train. Why do people assume the Trump supporters are racists, is because it fits their narrative? If they took the time to look closely they would realize that there were many people of color that took part in the Trump train. The NB Trump train would welcome any conservative American person regardless of color or race
Bob, they don’t think for one second we are racist and only pretend to support the views of MLK, Jr by his infamous words “Judge a man not by the color of his skin, but by the content of his character.” . But, that’s what they do to get control of a town or city. If you tell a lie enough times, people start to believe it. We’ve got to fight back or we will lose our wonderful city and county to these yahoos. I have many friends in NB who are black and Hispanic and they think this is horrible what Round Top Consulting and the city leaders are trying to do. We MUST stand up!!
If there is a problem with individuals, address them! Do not come to our town “warning” its citizens about diversity and racism and everything that continues to be blown out of proportion while not taking personal accountability on how people behave in public. If you feel uncomfortable in our city at night, it very well may be your own bias influencing your perception. I still subscribe to the idea that nothing good happens on the streets after midnight. You should always know where your children are, and it shouldn’t be on the street after midnight, period! Keep our community safe and good for all.
You are so right! Why do these groups want to bring out single situations and label a community because of the actions of individuals. This is ridiculous and we will not stand for it in our community. They are only inciting rasicm. I am sick of it!