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What To Do When You're Stopped By Police - The ACLU & Elon James White

What To Do When You're Stopped By Police - The ACLU & Elon James White

Know Anyone Who Thinks Racial Profiling Is Exaggerated? Watch This, And Tell Me When Your Jaw Drops.

This video clearly demonstrates how racist America is as a country and how far we have to go to become a country that is civilized and actually values equal justice. We must not rest until this goal is achieved. I do not want my great grandchildren to live in a country like we have today. I wish for them to live in a country where differences of race and culture are not ignored but valued as a part of what makes America great.

Sunday, November 27, 2022

Opinion | Supreme Court ruling on Trump's tax returns is correct - The Washington Post

Opinion Congress gets to see Trump’s tax returns. It shouldn’t have taken so long.

Former president Donald Trump speaks at Mar-a-Lago on Nov. 18. (Rebecca Blackwell/AP) 

"After a Tuesday Supreme Court ruling, the House Ways and Means Committee will, at long last, get former president Donald Trump’s tax returns, nearly 1,400 days since the panel started asking for them.

It was a proper reading of a law, passed in 1924, that requires the Treasury Department to turn over any tax records that are requested by certain congressional committees for legitimate legislative purposes. (The IRS also handed then-President Richard M. Nixon’s tax records to the Joint Committee on Taxation amid the Watergate scandal in 1973, although an important difference was that Nixon himself had asked the committee to review them, famously asserting: “I am not a crook.”)

Alas, the court’s decision does not assure that Mr. Trump’s tax records will ever become public or that future presidents — or presidential candidates — will not follow his lead in refusing to voluntarily disclose their own.

Restoring the norm under which presidential contenders voluntarily disclose their tax returns — followed by nearly every major-party nominee since Nixon — is important. Voters should expect to know what financial conflicts of interest they might bring to the job. And in Mr. Trump’s case, those records were especially relevant, given that he headed a sprawling and secretive privately held business. In addition to his tax records, he should have provided a detailed accounting of his holdings and interests. His refusal to do so became glaring as Mr. Trump pressed to reform the tax code in 2017. Americans could only guess how its provisions might personally enrich the president and his family.

If presidential candidates do not voluntarily share their returns, Congress might try to impose new rules. So could state lawmakers. In response to the Trump tax return saga, for example, New York legislators passed a law in 2019 allowing state officials to give congressional investigators the tax information they have on file. State lawmakers could also write laws that mandate the automatic release of candidates’ state tax returns after they claim major-party presidential nominations.

But it should not come to that. It would be healthier for the country to see candidates once again perform essential acts of honesty and transparency — not because they have to but because voters deserve it."

Opinion | Supreme Court ruling on Trump's tax returns is correct - The Washington Post

Friday, November 25, 2022

This Holiday Season, the Poor Buckle Under Inflation as the Rich Spend

This Holiday Season, the Poor Buckle Under Inflation as the Rich Spend

Even if policymakers achieve a gentle economic slowdown, it won’t be smooth for everyone.

Langham Hotel in Boston has plush suites and conference rooms.
People on a line outside a brick building, bundled up in winter clothes.
Across town, in Dorchester, people line up for Thanksgiving turkeys at Catholic Charities.

November has been busier than expected at the Langham Hotel in Boston as luxury travelers book rooms in plush suites and hold meetings in gilded conference rooms. The $135-per-adult Thanksgiving brunch at its in-house restaurant sold out weeks ago.

Across town, in Dorchester, demand has been booming for a different kind of food service. Catholic Charities is seeing so many families at its free pantry that Beth Chambers, vice president of basic needs at Catholic Charities Boston, has had to close early some days and tell patrons to come back first thing in the morning. On the frigid Saturday morning before Thanksgiving, patrons waiting for free turkeys began to line the street at 4:30 a.m. — more than four hours before the pantry opened.

The contrast illustrates a divide that is rippling through America’s topsy-turvy economy nearly three years into the pandemic. Many well-off consumers are still flush with savings and faring well financially, bolstering luxury brands and keeping some high-end retailers and travel companies optimistic about the holiday season. At the same time, America’s poor are running low on cash buffers, struggling to keep up with rising prices and facing climbing borrowing costs if they use credit cards or loans to make ends meet.

The situation underlines a grim reality of the pandemic era. The Federal Reserve is raising interest rates to make borrowing more expensive and temper demand, hoping to cool the economy and bring the fastest inflation in decades back under control. Central bankers are trying to manage that without a recession that leaves families out of work. But the adjustment period is already a painful one for many Americans — evidence that even if the central bank can pull off a so-called “soft landing,” it won’t feel benign to everyone.

“A lot of these households are moving toward the greater fragility that was the norm before the pandemic,” said Matthew Luzzetti, chief U.S. economist at Deutsche Bank.

Many working-class households fared well in 2020 and 2021. Though they lost jobs rapidly at the outset of the pandemic, hiring rebounded swiftly, wage growth has been strong, and repeated government relief checks helped families amass savings.

But after 18 months of rapid price inflation — some of which was driven by stimulus-fueled demand — the poor are depleting those cushions. American families were still sitting on about $1.7 trillion in excess savings — extra savings accumulated during the pandemic — by the middle of this year, based on Fed estimates, but about $1.35 trillion of it was held by the top half of earners and just $350 billion in the bottom half.

At the same time, prices climbed 7.7 percent in the year through October, far faster than the roughly 2 percent pace that was normal before the pandemic. As savings have run down and necessities like car repair, food and housing become sharply more expensive, many people in lower-income neighborhoodshave begun turning to credit cards to sustain their spending. Balances for that group are now above 2019 levels, New York Fed research shows. Some are struggling to keep up at all.

“With the cost of food, the explosive cost of eggs, people are having to come to us more,” said Ms. Chambers of Catholic Charities, explaining that other rising prices, including rent, are intensifying the struggle. The location planned to give out 1,000 turkeys and 600 gift cards for turkeys, at its holiday distribution, along with bags of canned creamed corn, cranberry sauce and other Thanksgiving fare.

Tina Obadiaru, 42, was among those who lined up to get a turkey on Saturday. A mother of seven, she works full time caring for residents at a group home, but it isn’t enough to make ends meet for her and her family, especially after her Dorchester rent jumped last month to $2,500 from $2,000.

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“It is going to be really difficult,” she said.

The disproportionate burden inflation places on the poor is one reason Fed officials are scrambling to quickly bring price increases back under control. Central bankers have lifted interest rates from near zero earlier this year to nearly 4 percent, and have signaled that there are more to come.

But the process of lowering inflation is also likely to hurt for lower-income people. Fed policies work partly by making it expensive to borrow to sustain consumption, which causes demand to decline and eventually forces sellers to charge less. Rate increases also slow down the labor market, cooling wage growth and possibly even costing jobs.

A woman handing a bag of frozen food to someone.
Catholic Charities has seen a surge in demand for food.
Two sets of hands are shown at a hotel counter, with one person handing a room key to another.
November has been busier than expected at the Langham Hotel.

That means that the solid labor market that has buoyed the working class through this challenging time — one that has particularly pushed up wages in lower-paying jobs, including leisure and hospitality, and transportation — could soon crack. In fact, Fed officials are watching for a slowdown in spending and pay gains as a sign that their policies are working.

“While higher interest rates, slower growth and softer labor market conditions will bring down inflation, they will also bring some pain to households and businesses,” Jerome H. Powell, the Fed chair, said at a key Fed conference in August. “These are the unfortunate costs of reducing inflation.”

Central bankers believe that a measure of pain today is better than what would happen if inflation were allowed to continue unchecked. If people and businesses begin to expect rapid price increases and act accordingly — asking for big raises, instituting frequent and large price increases — inflation could become entrenched in the economy. It would then take a more punishing policy response to bring it to heel, one that could push unemployment even higher.

But evidence accumulating across the economy underscores that the slowdown the Fed has been engineering, however necessary, is likely to feel different across different income groups.

Consumer spending overall has so far been resilient to the Fed’s rate moves. Retail sales data moderated notably early in the year, but have recently picked back up. Personal consumption expenditures aren’t expanding at a breakneck pace, but they continue to grow.

Yet underneath those aggregate numbers, a nascent shift appears to be underway — one that highlights the growing divide in economic comfort between the rich and the poor. Credit card data from Bank of America suggest that high- and middle-income households have replaced lower-income households in driving consumption growth in recent months. Poorer shoppers contributed one-fifth of the growth in discretionary spending in October, compared with around two-fifths a year earlier.

“This is likely due to lower-income groups being the most negatively impacted by surging prices — they have also seen the biggest drawdown of bank savings,” economists at the Bank of America Institute wrote in a Nov. 10 note.

Even if the poor feel the squeeze of elevated prices and higher interest ratesand pull back, the economists noted that continued economic health among richer consumers could keep demand strong in areas where wealthier people tend to spend their money, including services like travel and hotels.

At the Langham, a newly renovated hotel in a century-old building that originally served as the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, there is little to suggest an impending slowdown in spending. 

In “The Fed,” the hotel bar named in a nod to the building’s heritage, bartenders are busy every weeknight slinging cocktails with names like “Trust Fund Baby” and “Apple Butter Me Up” (both $16). When guests come back from shopping on nearby Newbury Street, the hotel’s managing director, Michele Grosso, said, their arms are full of bags. He sees the fact that the Thanksgiving brunch sold out so fast as emblematic of continued demand.

“If people were pulling back, we’d still be promoting,” he said of the three-course, family-style meal. “Instead, we’ve got a waiting list.”

The consumption divide playing out in Boston is also clear at a national level, echoing through corporate earnings calls. American Express added customers for platinum and gold cards at a record clip in the United States last quarter, for instance, as it reported “great demand” for premium, fee-based products.

A man on a street with a luggage trolley cart.
The $135-per-adult Thanksgiving Brunch at the Langham Hotel sold out weeks ago.
A truck piled with boxes of food.
Food to be distributed at Catholic Charities, which has been giving out Turkeys, cranberry sauce and other Thanksgiving fare.

“As we sit here today, we see no changes in the spending behaviors of our customers,” Stephen J. Squeri, the company’s chief executive, told investors during an earnings call last month.

Companies that serve more low-income consumers, however, are reporting a marked pullback.

“Many consumers this year have relied on borrowing or dipping into their savings to manage their weekly budgets,” Brian Cornell, the chief executive of Target, said in an earnings call on Nov. 16. “But for many consumers, those options are starting to run out. As a result, our guests are exhibiting increasing price sensitivity, becoming more focused on and responsive to promotions and more hesitant to purchase at full price.”

The split makes it hard to guess what will happen next with spending and inflation. Some economists think the return of price sensitivity among lower-income consumers will be enough to help overall costs moderate, paving the way for a notable slowdown in 2023.

“You get more promotional activity, and companies starting to compete for market share,” said Julia Coronado, founder of MacroPolicy Perspectives.

But others warn that, even if the very poor are struggling, it may not be sufficient to bring spending and prices down meaningfully.

Many families paid off their credit card balances during the pandemic, and that is now reversing, despite high credit card rates. The borrowing could help some households sustain their consumption for a while, especially paired with strong employment gains and recently fallen gas prices, said Neil Dutta, head of U.S. economics at Renaissance Macro.

As the world waits to see whether the Fed can slow down the economy enough to control inflation without forcing the country into an outright recession, those coming to Catholic Charities in Boston illustrate why the stakes are so high. Though many have jobs, they have been buffeted by months of rapid price increases and now face an uncertain future.

“Before the pandemic, we thought in cases,” Ms. Chambers said, referencing how much food is needed to meet local need. “Now we think only in pallets.”

Thursday, November 24, 2022

It’s the guns’: violent week in a deadly year prompts familiar US responses

‘It’s the guns’: violent week in a deadly year prompts familiar US responses

Visitors hug Wednesday at makeshift memorial near the scene of a mass shooting in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Visitors hug Wednesday at makeshift memorial near the scene of a mass shooting in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Photograph: David Zalubowski/AP

“It was the final hour of extended store opening on Tuesday at the Walmart Supercenter in the commercial heart of Chesapeake, Virginia’s second-largest city. Shoppers scrambled to make last-minute purchases for Thanksgiving. Then shots rang out.

Shortly after 10pm an employee, said to be a manager, entered a break room at the back of the store where staff were gathering at the start of the overnight shift, and according to an eyewitness “just started spraying”. The gunman used a pistol to shoot his victims and then turned the weapon on himself, all within minutes.

Donya Prioleau, a worker at the store, captured on Facebook the horror of the moment. She expressed not only her own trauma at seeing three friends killed by a silent gunman right in front of her, but also a wider despair at yet another mass shooting two days before a holiday meant for reflection and celebration.

She wrote: “Somebody’s baby, mom, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, grandparents … whoever did not make it home tonight! Thanksgiving is a holiday we celebrate with friends and family … there are those who cannot. I cannot unsee what happened in that break room.”

It is not just the families and friends of the dead and injured who will not be celebrating on Thursday. Three days before the Walmart shooting, a man armed with a long rifle entered an LGBTQ+ nightclub in Colorado Springs and opened fire.

As a result, the families of five people who were killed and 25 injured have also been left with nothing for which to give thanks. And it doesn’t end there.

According to the Gun Violence Archive, there have been seven mass shootings in the US in as many days. In addition to the bloodletting in Chesapeake and Colorado Springs, four people were killed at a marijuana farm in Oklahoma on Sunday; a mother and her three children were shot dead in Richmond, Virginia, on Friday; and mass shootings – defined as four people or more killed or injured with a firearm – occurred in Illinois, Mississippi and Texas.

All in all, Thanksgiving week has seen 22 people killed and 44 injured, all through the barrel of a gun.

By the archive’s definition, there have been 606 mass shootings in the US this year. That means that 2022 is shaping up to be one of the worst years in recent memory, on a par or exceeding the bloodletting of 2020 which recorded 610 such incidents and last year which saw 690.

The painful collision of so much tragedy in a week of national rejoicing would perhaps be cause for widespread soul-searching. But the public response has fallen quickly and predictably into patterns all too familiar to observers of America’s gun crisis.

In Virginia, the Republican governor, Glenn Youngkin, marked the second of the week’s mass shootings with the time-worn refrain: “Our hearts break with the community of Chesapeake this morning … Heinous acts of violence have no place in our communities.”

As one of the most astute gun control advocates, Shannon Watts, noted, the governor’s response lacked two poignant words: “gunman” and “shooting”. In her own analysis of a devastating week, Watts was more forthright.

“It’s the fucking guns,” she tweeted. “If more guns and fewer gun laws made us safer, America would be the safest nation in the world. But 400,000,000 guns in the hands of civilians coupled with weak gun laws have given us a 25 times higher gun homicide rate than any peer nation.”

In Colorado, the suspect in the Club Q shooting has been discharged from hospital and is now being held in the local county jail. Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, was expected to appear in court for the first time on Wednesday, facing possible murder and hate crime charges.

The suspect’s name was changed six years ago from Nicholas Franklin Brink. In court filings, the suspect’s defense lawyers said they are nonbinary and use they/them pronouns.

The suspect appears to have had possession of deadly weapons before the shooting despite an incident 18 months ago in which their mother was threatened with a homemade bomb. There is no indication that authorities invoked a state red flag law that allows the seizure of weapons from anyone considered a danger to themselves or others.

Colorado Springs has a reputation as one of the most conservative US cities. It is home to several prominent evangelical Christian and anti-abortion groups.

In 2019, El Paso county, which covers the city, declared itself a “second amendment sanctuary”. The measure referenced the constitutional right to bear arms, wielded in protest against attempts to tighten gun controls in the state in the wake of several gruesome mass shootings.“

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

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Jail Is a Death Sentence for a Growing Number of Americans

Jail Is a Death Sentence for a Growing Number of Americans

“In Houston’s jail, where the population is at its highest in a decade, 24 people have died this year. More than half had a history of mental problems.

Dallas Garcia, the mother of an inmate killed in Harris County Jail, holding her son’s ashes.
Brandon Thibodeaux for The New York Times

Matthew Shelton was contending with diabetes and periodic substance abuse when he moved in with his sister outside Houston in order to get his life together.

Three months later, facing an old criminal charge of driving while intoxicated, he turned himself in to the Harris County Jail one day in March with a supply of the insulin he relied on to stay alive.

After two days, he told his family that no one was allowing him access to the insulin: He was trying to manage his illness by discarding the bread from the sandwiches he was served. He was alone, frightened and cold, he said.

His mother, frantic, tried repeatedly to phone the jail but could not reach anyone. “We sent money for him to buy socks and ChapStick, and he never bought them,” she said.

Three days later, Mr. Shelton, 28, was found dead in his cell, after having slipped into a diabetic coma.

He was one of 24 people who have died this year in the jail, located in Houston, a far higher death rate than what is reflected in the most recent statistics for jails around the country.

Houston, whose jail has reached its highest population count in over a decade, is far from the only city where jails have become more fatal. Deaths have spiked in cities across the country, including New York, Oklahoma City, Seattle, Pittsburgh and Louisville, Ky. California, Texas and Georgia have also recorded statewide increases in deaths. Covid-19 accounts for only part of the rising toll — suicides and fatal overdoses have also increased in some places.

Jail officials blame a host of factors, including crowding, staff shortages, mental health issues exacerbated by the pandemic and the repurposing of beds in solitary confinement, once available to isolate violent detainees, that now must be used for quarantining the ill.

Prison activists gathered for a rally outside the New York Gov. Kathy Hochul’s office in March.
Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

But jails have also in many cases violated minimum safety standards or failed to provide adequate medical and mental health care for their inmates, about two-thirds of whom are awaiting trial and presumed innocent.

The Houston facility was cited by the state in September for holding new arrestees in its crowded Joint Processing Center for as long as 99 hours before moving them to a permanent cell. The limit is 48 hours.

In Los Angeles, a federal judge granted an emergency order in September after the American Civil Liberties Union provided evidence that people with mental illness were being chained to furniture for days or left to sleep on concrete floors without access to toilets.

In Louisville, a woman killed herself in jail after being held for 18 hours in an attorney interview booth with no mattress, toilet or running water.

Much of the recent attention on jails has been focused on Rikers Island in New York, which is under threat of a federal takeover after suicides and frequent reports of uncontrolled violence.

But there are indications of a much wider crisis whose dimensions are not yet fully understood. The Justice Department has failed to fulfill a 2013 congressional mandate to conduct a comprehensive count of all deaths in custody, at one point acknowledging that its new system had recorded only 39 percent of deaths in local jails.

The most recent national figures available, from 2019, show that jail deaths were rising even before the pandemic. From 2000 to 2019, jail deaths per capita increased by 11 percent, to 167 per 100,000. In 2019, suicide was the leading cause of death. The number of drug- and alcohol-related deaths was the highest ever recorded.

The nation’s jails have little broad oversight but instead are local facilities, most commonly controlled by elected sheriffs. They held about 650,000 people last year, according to Jacob Kang-Brown of the Vera Institute for Justice, a group promoting prison reform. The jail population declined substantially at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic but has since begun to rebound, he said.

In Houston, there was another death Tuesday morning, when a 45-year-old man succumbed to injuries sustained in an assault by other jail inmates. That followed the death of a 27-year-old man who was found hanging in his cell last week. Two of the other deaths this year were suicides, including a man who was moved to a padded cell after a suicide attempt, then rammed his head repeatedly against the walls, the door and a metal grate, causing fatal injuries.

Jason Spencer, the chief of staff for Sheriff Ed Gonzalez, whose department runs the jail, said that the death rate, currently at more than 200 per 100,000 inmates, can vary widely from year to year.

At least a dozen of those who died this year were in their 20s, 30s or 40s. More than half had a history of mental illness or had been declared incompetent, according to Sarah V. Wood, the general counsel for the public defender’s office.

While an autopsy attributed Mr. Shelton’s death to a natural cause, diabetic ketoacidosis, his family insists that it was entirely preventable, a result of the jail’s failure to provide him with insulin.

“This is something that didn’t need to happen,” his mother, Marianna Thomson, said. “This is just carelessness. They didn’t care.”

Marianna Thomson holding a locket containing the ashes of her late son, Matthew Shelton.
Brandon Thibodeaux for The New York Times

Mr. Spencer said the death occurred not long after the county’s public health care provider, Harris Health, took over the responsibility of providing medical care at the jail and referred questions there.

Bryan McLeod, a spokesman for Harris Health, declined to comment because Mr. Shelton’s family plans to sue. He also declined to discuss whether the jail’s medical providers were adequately staffed.

The deaths this year in Houston come amid a host of complaints about dangerous conditions in the jail. In a lawsuit, several dozen detention officers describe staffing shortages so severe that drug use and assaults were rampant, nurses were unable to administer medicine and officers, often denied meals and bathroom breaks, sometimes urinated into plastic bags.

“The jail is in disastrous shape right now,” said David Batton, the legal counsel for the union that represents jail employees. He faulted the county for failing to adequately fund jail operations. The lawsuit was dismissed last week. 

Mr. Spencer said the county had approved a staffing increase of 100 detention officers, but that more than 100 positions remained unfilled. He said the problem was much larger than Houston; the jail’s death rate, he said, was in line with that of the state’s other large jails.

Many jails have seen overcrowding in part because of court backlogs stemming from the pandemic, which slowed or halted hearings and trials. But Houston’s backlog dates back to Hurricane Harvey in 2017, when the courthouse was damaged. The local courts now have more than 41,000 pending felony cases.

Even if no new cases came in, it would take more than a year to clear the old ones, according to a 2020 analysis by the Justice Management Institute, a research and training group. The institute recommended dismissing all nonviolent felony cases more than nine months old, pointing out that most of the accused would not have been sentenced to time behind bars.

But Kim Ogg, the Harris County district attorney, has declined to dismiss cases in bulk, saying that each should be considered individually. “We can’t neglect our prosecutorial duty, and we’re not going to tell victims that their crime doesn’t count,” said Dane Schiller, a spokesman for Ms. Ogg.

Advocates for better jail conditions also blame the overcrowding on a pandemic-era executive order from Gov. Greg Abbott, which later became state law, aimed at blocking the release of detainees on cashless bail.

The law, S.B. 6, prevents the release of any inmate with a previous conviction for violence or threatening violence, no matter how old, without requiring them to pay some bail money. 

It has worked against a parallel effort to funnel people with serious mental illness into treatment instead of jail, without requiring them to pay for release, said Krish Gundu, co-founder and executive director of the Texas Jail Project, a watchdog group. She said that S.B. 6 undermines the Sandra Bland Act, named for a woman who could not afford the $500 needed to post bond after a traffic stop and hanged herself in a Texas jail.

Twenty inmates have died this year in Harris County Jail in Houston.
Brandon Thibodeaux for The New York Times

Because many acts associated with mental illness, such as spitting on a police officer, are categorized as violent, hundreds of poor defendants who need treatment must now remain in jail while they are on the long waiting list for a community psychiatric bed, Ms. Gundu said.

In Harris County, four out of five detainees have a mental health indicator such as a diagnosis of major mental illness or previous treatment with psychiatric drugs, according to the jail’s dashboard, putting an intense strain on the system.

One woman who had no prior convictions was arrested in January 2020 on charges of possessing less than a gram of meth, almost certainly not enough to earn a prison sentence.

The woman was repeatedly referred to the jail’s mental health unit when guards witnessed her doing things like walking naked, drinking out of toilets and assaulting or being assaulted by others. But each time, she was swiftly returned to the general population. She spent more than two years moving in and out of jail, diversion programs and mental health treatment.

At some point, jail officials became aware that she was pregnant. In May, she gave birth in her cell without medical assistance. How that happened is unclear: Mr. Spencer said she had been checked on once every hour, as required.

When the newborn was discovered, baby and mother were taken to the hospital, where the mother remained under the supervision of two jail guards. A judge at that time declared her incompetent to stand trial and “suffering severe and abnormal mental health, emotional or physical distress.”

Despite her condition, she was permitted at the hospital to interact with her infant daughter and is now charged with stomping, kicking and striking her, though the baby survived.

Advocates for better jail conditions said the jail had failed to treat her severe mental illness, failed to adequately monitor her pregnancy and failed to protect the baby.

The woman’s lawyer, Staci Biggar, did not respond to requests for comment.

This year’s death toll comes on the heels of several notorious cases last year. In one, Jaquaree Simmons, 23, was beaten to death by guards who then failed to document their use of force, according to a subsequent investigation. The jail fired 10 guards, and the case will soon be presented to a grand jury.

Fred Harris after his high school graduation in Stafford, Texas, in 2020.
Mr. Harris in the hospital after being beaten and stabbed in Harris County Jail, which ultimately led to his death in 2021.

In another, Fred Harris, a 19-year-old, cognitively disabled inmate who weighed only 98 pounds, was placed in a holding tank with a 240-pound detainee who was known to be violent and was required to have an escort when outside his cell, according to a lawsuit filed by Mr. Harris’s family. Mr. Harris was stabbed and beaten to death, and his cellmate has been charged with murder.

Asked if the jail bore any responsibility, Mr. Spencer said, “That’s hard to say. I mean, those kinds of things, you know, sadly, have always happened in jails and prisons.”

But Mr. Harris’s mother, Dallas Garcia, said jail officials had failed to provide basic protections for her son. “I don’t want anyone else to experience that,” she said. “I don’t want there to be a lack of human decency in these places.”