TEXAS ROUNDUP — School speech interrupted when victims named

Published 4:30 pm Thursday, June 6, 2019


DALLAS — School officials in Dallas say they’re investigating why a high school valedictorian had her graduation speech interrupted after she said the names of shooting victims Trayvon Martin and Tamir Rice.

Conrad High School valedictorian Rooha Haghar told KXAS-TV that her school principal ordered her mic to be shut off during her speech Saturday. Haghar said she was previously told that her speech shouldn’t be political.

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Officers in Cleveland fatally shot 12-year-old Tamir in 2014. A neighborhood watch volunteer shot 17-year-old Martin in 2012. Both were black.

Haghar says she mentioned them because they were of similar age and their deaths are “a reality that black families have to deal with.” She posted video of the speech on Twitter. Principal Temesghen Asmerom can be seen sitting on the stage and giving a thumbs-up as the names were read, apparently indicating to cut the mic.


Section of Trump’s
wall to get new paint

In a mission to “improve the aesthetic appearance” of President Donald Trump’s wall, active-duty troops will begin painting a stretch of border fence as part of a military deployment to secure the border at a time when tens of thousands of Central American families have been arriving in the U.S. and overwhelming the immigration system.

Border Patrol spokesman Carlos Pitones said troops on Friday will begin painting a one-mile section in Calexico, California, about 120 miles east of San Diego. The wall there has 30-foot-high rust-colored steel slats that were erected last year — the first border barriers built under Trump’s presidency. Pitones declined to say which color they would be painted.

Sen. Dick Durbin called the wall-painting a “disgraceful misuse” of taxpayer money.


Dallas PD reviews
social media posts

DALLAS — Dallas police are joining law enforcement agencies nationwide in reviewing officers’ statements on social media.

The review follows publication of a database that appears to catalog thousands of officers’ bigoted or violent posts.

More than 1,000 public posts from people identified as current and former Dallas officers were flagged by researchers with The Plain View Project , who spent two years looking at the personal Facebook accounts of police from Arizona to Florida.

The Dallas Police Department says it’s working with the project’s leader and going over each post to see if department policy was violated.

Dallas Police Association President Mike Mata says some posts may merely be dark humor or have been taken out of context. He says the department should act if something is “a shock to the conscience.”


Accountant pleads
guilty to Ponzi scheme

BALTIMORE — A Texas accountant has pleaded guilty in Maryland to participating in a scheme to defraud investors of hundreds of millions of dollars.

U.S. Attorney Robert Hur’s office says in a news release that 55-year-old Jay Ledford pleaded guilty Thursday to charges including conspiracy to commit wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.

Hur’s office says the charges stem from a $550 million investment fraud scheme that operated from 2013 through September 2018.

Two other people — 53-year-old Kevin Merrill of Towson, Maryland, and 28-year-old Cameron Jezierski of Fort Worth, Texas — previously pleaded guilty to charges related to the Ponzi scheme.

Hur’s office says Ledford provided Merrill with fictitious sales agreements and false tax returns to solicit investors to purchase consumer debt portfolios.

Ledford is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 29.


See also: TEXAS ROUNDUP — Body of trans woman pulled from Dallas lake