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San Marcos City Council Heads into Executive Session Tuesday to Discuss Trump Train Lawsuit

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San Marcos City Council Heads into Executive Session Tuesday to Discuss Trump Train Lawsuit

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Former Texas State Sen. Wendy Davis, second from left, was aboard this campaign bus when it was swarmed by the New Braunfels Trump Train. File image.

The New Braunfels Trump Train is on the agenda for the San Marcos City Council Tuesday night.

In executive session council members will consider a lawsuit filed against San Marcos law-enforcement officials by former Texas State Sen. Wendy Davis and others who were riding in a Biden campaign bus on Oct. 30, 2020 when it was swarmed by dozens of flag-festooned cars and trucks driven by members of the New Braunfels Trump Train.

Followers of Trump Train founders Steve and Randi Ceh tried to force the bus off the road as it headed north on I-35 from San Antonio to a scheduled stop in San Marcos as part of the “Battle for the Soul of the Nation” presidential campaign.

In the lawsuit Cervini v. Stapp, filed in June 2021, Davis and others argued that San Marcos law-enforcement officials “turned a blind eye to the attack — despite pleas for help — and failed to provide the bus a police escort,” according to Protect Democracy, a civil rights organization involved in the litigation.

Named in the lawsuit are the City of San Marcos, San Marcos Director of Public Safety Chase Stapp, San Marcos Assistant Police Chief Brandon Winkenwerder, and San Marcos Police Corporal Matthew Daenzer.

“Plaintiffs intended to spend that October day — the last day of early voting for the presidential election in Texas — campaigning at various political events across the state of Texas, including a campaign event at Texas State University in San Marcos,” according to the lawsuit.

“Instead, Plaintiffs found themselves as targets of a conspiracy to ambush the Biden-Harris Campaign’s tour bus on a stretch of Interstate 35 and intimidate them for their work supporting and advocating for a presidential candidate. When they turned to law enforcement to protect them, Plaintiffs were failed by the very officials charged with upholding both their safety and their foundational democratic rights.”

The lawsuit alleges the Trump Train pursued and terrorized those on the Biden Bus for at least 90 minutes while calls to law enforcement went unanswered.

Members of the New Braunfels Trump Train believed then-vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris was aboard the bus. Instead, Davis was riding in the bus, campaigning against incumbent Republican Chip Roy for the 21st Congressional District.

With her were campaign staffer David Gins and bus driver Timothy Holloway. Volunteer Eric Cervini was traveling ahead of the bus and was already at a scheduled campaign stop in San Marcos as the event unfolded.

A companion lawsuit also filed in June 2021, Cervini v. Cisneros, alleges members of the Trump Train violated the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871 as well as Texas law by organizing “a politically motivated conspiracy to disrupt the campaign and intimidate its supporters.”

New Braunfels Police Department, which escorted the Trump Train as it drove through the city, is not named in either lawsuit.

 

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