Houston, TX

Houston passes law to protect gays

July 27, 2001
The City Council passed an anti-discrimination measure to protect gay city employees, 16 years after a similar law was overturned by voters.
      The law passed Wednesday protects employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation, race, gender, age and other factors.
      "It is something that is long overdue and years in the making," said Councilwoman Annise Parker, a lesbian who was instrumental in getting the law passed.

Bush appointee convicted in scandal

November 02, 2000
A member of the state'slow-income housing board was convicted Thursday of participating in a briberyscheme to defraud the government of valuable tax credits. 
     The verdict against Florita Bell Griffin, a 1995appointee of Gov. George W. Bush to the Texas Department of Housing andCommunity Affairs, was read after 14 hours of deliberations over four days. 
     Griffin, businessman Joe Lee Walker and real estateagent Terry Roberts were convicted of bribery, theft, mail fraud and conspiracy.Griffin and Walker also were convicted of money laundering. 

Houston to develop policies for deaf inmates

March 31, 2000
To settle a federal investigation, the city of Houston agreed Friday to provide sign language interpreters or other aids for the deaf and to retrain city workers in its police department, municipal courts and jail. 
     The agreement ends an investigation by the Justice Department's civil rights division for possible violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act. It also will be submitted for court approval as part of the city's settlement of two private lawsuits brought by deaf men. The city denied the allegations in both complaints. 

Black trooper investigating Klan joke was in similar event

March 01, 2000
A black state trooper helping to investigate white troopers who wore Ku Klux Klan hoods as a party gag more than 11 years ago was photographed in a similar situation in 1981, officials said Tuesday. 
    Department of Public Safety Capt. Duane Steen, who now heads the DPS Region 1 narcotics unit in Garland, appeared in a snapshot published in the yearbook of his trooper training class in Austin more than 18 years ago. The snapshot shows Capt. Steen laughing with other black recruits who are pulling a white sheet over the head of a white trainee. The caption under the photo reads: "Say, sarge, are you sure this guy belongs here?" 
    DPS spokeswoman Tela Mange confirmed that the incident is under investigation, but she said it differs from the 1988 Livingston office birthday party that drew national attention and led the DPS to take disciplinary action and tighten rules. 

Texas troopers suspended over KKK hoods

January 11, 2000
Four white state troopers who donned Ku Klux Klan-style hoods at a 1989 birthday party for a black officer have been suspended, officials said Tuesday.
    Two other white employees also were suspended for making racist comments more recently, said Col. Dudley Thomas, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS).
    All six were suspended with pay pending the outcome of investigations into the alleged acts. 

TX investigates photos of troopers in KKK hoods

January 06, 2000
The Texas Department of Public Safety said on Wednesday it was launching an investigation into photographs taken in 1989 that show several state troopers posing in Ku Klux Klan-style hoods next to a black colleague.
    The photos were disclosed at a news conference in Houston on Wednesday by the black trooper, Darren Anderson, 35, who was suspended from his job with the state police agency last May.
    They showed Anderson, smiling and holding a large cake for his 24th birthday, surrounded by fellow troopers wearing the pointed white hoods associated with the white supremacist group. 

National Urban League to webcast conference

August 07, 1999
Following the success of the Internet broadcast of its annual conference last year, this year the National Urban League (NUL) will again broadcast portions of its 1999 Annual Conference live over the Internet. Web surfers interested in ``virtual participating'' in the Conference are invited to visit the League's Web site at www.nul.org. The entire Internet broadcast is sponsored by Broadcast.com.

Group: hate against Hispanics rising

June 26, 1999
Hate crimes against Hispanics are on the rise, underscoring a troubling pattern of harassment against the nation's fastest-growing minority group by law enforcement and extremists, the National Council of La Raza said today.
    ``It seems that open season has been declared on our community,'' President Raul Yzaguirre said at the annual convention of the nation's largest Hispanic civil rights group. ``Private citizens and law enforcement officials feel they can harass or attack Hispanic Americans with almost complete impunity.''
    A report released by the group, ``The Mainstreaming of Hate,'' chronicles allegations of hate crime violence, church burning and law enforcement abuse. Although the authors rely heavily on anecdotal evidence, they say the study gives a first-of-its kind look at an emerging pattern of hate activity against Hispanics. 

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