web analytics
a

Facebook

Twitter

Copyright 2015 Libero Themes.
All Rights Reserved.

8:30 - 6:00

Our Office Hours Mon. - Fri.

703-406-7616

Call For Free 15/M Consultation

Facebook

Twitter

Search
Menu
Westlake Legal Group > News Media (Page 62)

I Called 911 On My Neighbors. The Police Showed Up In My Home With Guns Drawn.

It happened on June 2, 2019, a lazy Sunday morning, at around 11 a.m. I’d opened the back door of my home to let my dog, Daisy, out and that’s when I heard it. There, amongst the birds’ morning song, was the voice of a woman filled with fear and anger. Most of her words were unintelligible, but amid her shouts I could make out a sentence or two. 

“Get the fuck off me!” She screamed. “Get away from me! No!”

I’d heard a similar commotion coming from the same residence around 5 a.m. that same morning, but because it seemed to die down as quickly as it started, I didn’t call 911. This time, whatever was happening back there was not stopping. In fact, it was escalating. There was the sound of glass breaking, doors slamming and two voices that seemed to be getting more and more hysterical. 

I pulled Daisy into the house and sat quietly in my bedroom for a moment, listening intently. I could now only hear the woman’s voice, but there were pauses, as if someone was responding to her. The dispute was not ending. In fact, it seemed to be getting worse. I could no longer make out words, just heightening anger in the voices.

I decided to call the police.

The 911 operator asked me for my name, location and the nature of the emergency. I told him that I was concerned about a neighbor on the street behind me and that I could hear yelling and what appeared to be some sort of fight. The operator asked for my address so he could pull up a map and determine the exact location of the altercation. 

He typed. I paced.

My 18-year-old son Zion, who had emerged from his room and was now aware of the situation, was following me around our home listening to my half of the call with the 911 operator. In an attempt to gain some privacy so that I could concentrate on the phone call, I briefly stepped out onto our front porch and neglected to lock the front door when I came back in.

The dispatcher asked me more questions and entered my responses into the system. He verified that the location of the altercation was on the street behind me and not on my street. I confirmed this. As our conversation continued, he overheard the woman yelling in the background and asked if either one of us was outside.

I clarified that I was in my own house and, as far as I could tell, she was in hers. The fight was that loud. Hearing this, the operator seemed to become more concerned and and double checked that I was reporting something that I could hear directly behind my house. Again, I confirmed that he was correct. He assured me police officers were en route and the call ended.

Westlake Legal Group 5d56ca612400006100b8cee9 I Called 911 On My Neighbors. The Police Showed Up In My Home With Guns Drawn.

Courtesy of Lynnette Bradford The author, Lynnette Bradford.

Several minutes later, I received a call from a police officer. He asked for me specifically and rattled off my address. I confirmed my identity and address, quickly adding, “But the emergency is not at my house. It’s at the house behind me.” Clearly irritated, he answered, “I know that. I want to know if there is a gate code.”

I shared my personal gate code with the officer and he told me they were on the way and hung up. Satisfied that the police would check into whatever was going on back there, I stepped into my downstairs bathroom.

So, there I was, pants around my ankles playing Candy Crush, when I heard a loud BANG, followed by shouts of, “POLICE! POLICE!”

I immediately realized the banging and the shouting were too loud to be coming from outside. 

The police were inside my house.

I heard Daisy, who isn’t exactly the most people-friendly dog, snarling and bolting, full-speed, toward the front door. I knew she would not hesitate to attack. 

I’ve never pulled up my pants so fast in my life. I burst out of the bathroom. There, in my doorway, stood two police officers with their guns out of their holsters and ready to fire.

Time seemed to slow down, but my mind felt like it was moving at hyper speed.  

If the dog gets any closer, they’ll shoot. 

If they start shooting, they won’t stop.

Other officers will arrive on the scene and begin shooting, too.

Zion is running in this direction. I can hear his footsteps upstairs. He’s probably coming to restrain the dog.

I’m Black. 

Zion is Black… and tall… and he’ll run down the stairs toward the front door… toward me… and the officers… and their loaded guns.

Black men running toward officers is perceived as a threat.

The officers are already on edge.

Once they see my son running toward them, they’re gonna shoot.

They’re gonna shoot my baby!

Please God, no!

One of the officers, rightfully afraid of Daisy, took one step back and aimed his weapon at her, which made my dog pause just long enough for me to catch her. I grabbed her collar and placed myself between her and the guns… and, essentially, in between the guns and my son, who had not yet come down from the second floor.

There I was, crouched in front of two police officers in my own home, begging them not to shoot. How many African Americans have had to face this scenario? How many have not survived it?

Still crouching, I held up my hand ― the universal sign for stop ― and yelled over and over, “She bites! Stop! Wrong house! Wrong house! Stop! It’s the house behind me!”

I intentionally used short concise sentences over and over to communicate and deescalate the situation as quickly as possible.  

Westlake Legal Group 5d56c97f2400009a01b8ce81 I Called 911 On My Neighbors. The Police Showed Up In My Home With Guns Drawn.

Courtesy of Lynnette Bradford Bradford’s dog, Daisy.

Slowly walking backwards, with one hand still raised, I dragged my now furious dog to my bedroom and closed the door. When I turned back around, the officers were returning their guns to their holsters. My son was standing on our enclosed staircase, shielded from the officers’ view.  

When he stepped out onto the floor, one officer subconsciously placed her hand back on her weapon.

I don’t know if she noticed, but I most certainly did. 

The officers asked me to clarify ― again ― where the dispute was and when I stepped out to my driveway to show them, I was met with a half-dozen police vehicles which had converged in front of my home in a perfect “V” formation. My neighbors were standing on the lawn, gawking in disbelief. I pointed at the house in question and the officers rushed off.  

I stepped to the side of my house and disintegrated into tears. I tried to call my wife, but my hands were trembling with such force that I could not hold the phone steady.  

The female officer, who’d reflexively reached for her gun when she saw my son, came back to my home a few minutes later. I quickly tried to pull myself together. Looking back, I think I didn’t want her to know how upset I was, in the same way you don’t want a bully to know how much they got to you. Still, I had to wipe away a tear and she noticed. 

She offered me a half-hearted “sorry” and curtly asked for my ID. 

She took my information and that was that. I’m not exactly sure what happened at my neighbor’s home, but I was told that everything was “OK.” Somehow, I don’t think that was the case — at the other house or mine. 

A week later, the shock of literally staring down the barrel of a gun in my own living room had worn off and anxiety set in. I came home early from work a few days later and when I opened the door, I found my son and Daisy staring wide-eyed at me ― both of them trying to register who was coming through the door. I stood still and stared back at my son, wordlessly understanding his fear, giving him the time he needed to process that it was just me and that he was safe.   

And then he answered the question that I hadn’t asked ― at least not out loud:  “I’m okay, Mom. I’m okay.”

I decided to file a complaint with the police department, but it took two weeks to finally find the right office. One week alone was spent getting transferred to and from different departments and leaving messages in voiceless voicemails. 

I received no responses. No returned phone calls. There was no surprise, no concern in the voices or actions of the receptionists and operators who heard my story and took my messages. 

How is it that I was still able to assess the situation, protect the officers from my dog, protect my dog from the officers, keep my son safe, and deescalate everything while staring down two guns using just my words and a little black girl magic?

I finally spoke to a lieutenant who oversees the section of the police department that was involved in the incident. It turns out the wrongful invasion that took place in my own home was never even reported to the sergeant present during the event, let alone documented in the report.

Surprised? Yeah, me neither.

At one point in the conversation, the lieutenant suspiciously asked me, “What do you want?” which I interpreted to mean, “Yeah, we made a mistake, but you won’t get any money from this if that’s what you’re thinking.”

Money? I thought to myself. You think I spent a week tracking you down to demand money? Your officers could have killed me, my son and my dog and that’s all you think I want? Money?

I wanted to say, You know what I really want, lieutenant?

I want the police to protect and defend my life and my son’s life. How is it that I, caught off guard and violated in my own home, was still able to quickly assess the situation, protect the officers from my dog, protect my dog from the officers, keep my son safe, and deescalate everything while staring down two guns using just my words and, admittedly, a little black girl magic? 

Do you see how that works, lieutenant? Want to know what else I want?

I want accountability. And I do not want you to throw the two constables involved in the incident under the bus for good PR. That is literally a cop-out. How about, instead, you acknowledge that the six-week training they and other officers received from your department was apparently so subpar that it resulted in my family being placed in grave danger? How about a thorough examination of that training program and making the changes that obviously need to be made to ensure that this doesn’t ever happen again? 

What do I want?

I want you to be different than the generations of cops that have come before you. I want you to have enough fortitude to uphold the law even when you and your officers break it. I want you to report and correct crimes committed by your officers. I want you and all of the officers who report to you to honor the badge you so proudly wear by exercising the utmost care and self-control when handling a firearm. I want you and your officers to be an example of what to do instead of what not to do.

That is what I want.

I want what I deserve ― what we, as parents, as African Americans, as immigrants, as members of the LGBTQIA community and as citizens deserve ― which is infinitely more valuable than any monetary compensation or even an apology could offer.

I want change ― and I want it now.

Too many “mistakes” have been made. Too many innocent people have been killed. Too many police departments have looked the other way and refused to take accountability for what their officers have done and who they have done it to. Too many mothers have had to grieve the loss of a child at the hands of a police officer. Too many fathers have been murdered during “routine stops.” There has been too much news coverage of police brutality, too many articles written, too many documentaries released for anyone to claim ignorance on how race and socioeconomic status factor into these deaths. These crimes.

This has gone too far. Enough.

But I didn’t say that to the lieutenant. I couldn’t find the words. I was too angry. Too hurt. But I have them now.

It’s been over six weeks since I submitted my official complaint. So far, the only response I’ve received is from the sergeant in charge of the investigation, who happens to also be the sergeant on the scene that day, which certainly seems like a conflict of interest to me. He has assured me he is investigating the matter and will follow up with me. 

I don’t know what will happen now or if I’ll actually hear anything. I don’t know what I’ll be told when all is said and done, but I do know that unless it involves more training and accountability for the police department, it won’t be enough.  

A representative from the Harris County Constables Office declined to comment on Lynnette Bradford’s complaint, citing the fact that there is an active investigation into the incident.

Lynnette Bradford is a blogger, freelance writer and speaker based in Houston, Texas. Her blog, Living Out Loud with Lynnette Bradford, explores a wide array of topics including inclusivity, faith and food. Find her online at LynnetteBradford.com or connect with her on Twitter at @out_loud_life.

Do you have a compelling personal story you’d like to see published on HuffPost? Find out what we’re looking for here and send us a pitch!

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

A CBP Officer Shot An American In The Head. 6 Months Later, CBP Won’t Say Why.

NOGALES, Ariz. ― U.S. Customs and Border Protection won’t say much about how one of its officers came to shoot Angel Mendivil Perez, a 21-year-old Americanin the head at the Dennis DeConcini border crossing here earlier this year. 

The port of entry, which straddles a multilane road in downtown Nogales, is a busy one. On a typical day, vehicles are lined up, filled with people who cross the border to work, eat, shop or visit family. Pedestrians use a walkway near the road, sometimes waiting for hours to present identification to enter the United States. Southbound travelers usually sail through. It’s not general practice for CBP to stop drivers of vehicles leaving the U.S. for Mexico unless they have a reason or they’re doing random checks. 

Around 7 p.m. on Feb. 7, Mendivil Perez tried to exit the U.S. in a pickup truck with a license plate registered to a different vehicle, according to a brief statement CBP released that month.

When Mendivil Perez, who was with a male passenger, got to the crossing, CBP officers approached the truck and questioned him. During questioning, Mendivil Perez accelerated toward Mexico, according to CBP’s statement. At this time, a CBP officer fired his gun. The officer and Mendivil Perez’s passenger were uninjured. Mendivil Perez was shot. The truck crashed into a cement barrier a few yards into Mexico. 

Westlake Legal Group 5d541ae92200003100f587f3 A CBP Officer Shot An American In The Head. 6 Months Later, CBP Won’t Say Why.

SOPA Images via Getty Images The border crossing station in Nogales, Arizona. 

Mendivil Perez, in such critical condition that the mayor here initially told local news he was dead, was taken to a hospital in Mexico, moved across the border, and eventually airlifted to Banner – University Medical Center Tucson in Arizona. He survived. 

More than six months later, CBP,  citing the ongoing investigation, won’t name the officer who fired his gun, explain why he fired, or explicitly acknowledge that a bullet from the officer’s gun struck Mendivil Perez. The agency has not claimed Mendivil Perez or his passenger were armed — Mendivil Perez’s attorney, Bill Risner, said it’s clear Mendivil Perez and his passenger were unarmed; a CBP official wouldn’t comment — nor will the agency explain why an officer would have fired if the vehicle’s occupants were unarmed.

The mayor, who did respond to a request for comment, claimed he was told — it was unclear by whom — that Mendivil Perez attempted to run over an officer. CBP won’t say whether the truck was moving toward an officer or anyone else. And it won’t say whether it believes the officer’s decision to fire was justifiable.  

Why did this happen? What was the reason why they even shot at him in the first place? Eleonora Mendivil, sister of Angel Mendivil Perez

Things take a while “because we want to get it right,” said a CBP official who was granted anonymity because that was the only condition under which CBP would agree to a phone interview on this matter. The general investigation process includes interviewing people and looking at physical evidence, along with a review by other law enforcement entities to see whether there is a case for criminal charges. There is also a review of the agency’s policy. During that time, “we try to keep everything as evidence — and when you have evidence, you don’t want to make that public,” the official added.

Six months on, Mendivil Perez has not been charged with a crime related to the incident, according to his attorney. Mendivil Perez’s passenger, whom HuffPost has not been able to locate, was released at the scene by Mexican authorities. No federal charges were filed against either of them as of Aug. 13, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona said in an email.

Louis Fidel, an attorney in Tucson who represents the officer who fired his weapon, declined to answer specific questions about the circumstances of the shooting. “There was an imminent serious threat of physical injury that was the basis of the decision to shoot,” he said.

Mendivil Perez also doesn’t have much to offer about what happened. The last thing he remembers, he said, is shopping for groceries to bring to his pregnant girlfriend, who lives in Mexico. He woke up after that in the hospital with a gunshot wound to the left side of his head, a fractured skull, and ballistic fragments remaining in his brain. 

Mendivil Perez’s mother, Nora Perez, and his 29-year-old sister, Eleonora Mendivil, also said they still don’t know much about what happened. The night of the shooting, they rushed to meet Mendivil Perez at the hospital in Mexico where he was first taken. His sister was “screaming, yelling, crying,” she said, initially only knowing that her little brother had been shot in the head. 

“There’s still that why. The por qué. Why did this happen? What was the reason why they even shot at him in the first place?” Mendivil said. 

“It’s like why, why, why, why.” 

Westlake Legal Group 5d541bad2400009a01b7d2fe A CBP Officer Shot An American In The Head. 6 Months Later, CBP Won’t Say Why.

Ash Ponders for HuffPost Nora Perez stands behind her son Angel Mendivil Perez just outside their attorney’s offices in downtown Tucson, Arizona, on Aug. 12, 2019.

Shooting at a moving vehicle whose occupants are unarmed is usually a bad idea, many policing experts say. A growing number of law enforcement agencies have banned their officers from doing so. For years — following cases that include a plainclothes Border Patrol agent shooting a San Diego mother of five in her car in 2012, killing her — experts and advocates have urged CBP to join the trend. But the agency still does not fully prohibit the practice.

The logic behind the bans is simple: It is difficult to shoot a moving car accurately, and injuring or killing the driver isn’t likely to disable or stop the threat of the car. If a suspect is fleeing in a vehicle, shooting them may make the situation more dangerous. With an incapacitated driver, a car becomes an unguided missile that can careen into officers and innocent bystanders. 

“You could get that vehicle or you could get that individual another day, but you can’t get that life back,” said Chuck Wexler, the executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), a police research and policy organization.

There are rare exceptions. Some city police departments, for example, have recently started allowing officers to shoot at cars used in vehicle-ramming terrorist attacks. But generally, in cases where a suspect is in an oncoming car, getting out of the way is a safer option than shooting the driver.

Most of the time, the officer can move away, said Geoffrey Alpert, a professor at the University of South Carolina who has been conducting research on high-risk police activities for more than 30 years. In most scenarios, he added, drivers are trying to escape — not intentionally run over officers.

This idea also isn’t new. In 1972, there were almost 1,000 total New York City Police Department officer shooting incidents. That year, the agency adopted a new policy prohibiting officers from shooting at a moving vehicle unless a person in the vehicle was using or threatening deadly force by means other than the vehicle itselfThat and other reforms resulted in a sharp reduction in the number of shooting incidents involving NYPD officers the following year, according to a report by PERF. That trend has continued, PERF wrote, with no negative effect on officer safety.  

Not all police departments have the same policy — and some police advocates have stopped short of supporting a complete ban on firing at moving vehicles. Officers who do it aren’t necessarily going to be charged with wrongdoing: In the U.S., law enforcement officers can legally use deadly force whenever they reasonably believe a person poses a deadly threat. This has translated into broad legal protection for cops — including when they shoot unarmed people, disproportionately people of color. Police have killed nearly 200 people who were in vehicles when they were shot since 2015, many of whom police said were “armed” only with the vehicle, according to a 2017 article in The Washington Post.

Nonetheless, for decades, the trend in police departments has been to move toward more restrictions or total bans on shooting at unarmed people in moving cars. Many major city police departments have followed the NYPD’s lead, and officials in the Obama administration’s Justice Department have promoted the policy of banning this practice.

You could get that vehicle or you could get that individual another day, but you can’t get that life back. Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum

CBP, which has more expansive powers than other law enforcement entities, has claimed that it faces unique circumstances. It has also resisted adopting other best practices promoted by policing experts.

The agency has tested but not yet adopted the use of body cameras like modern city police departments. In the past, Border Patrol agents have shot at people allegedly throwing rocks, a practice condemned by international human rights advocates because thrown rocks don’t usually present a serious threat. And CBP is out of step with a number of other police agencies on the issue of car chases, a sweeping investigation by ProPublica and the Los Angeles Times found earlier this year. 

Years ago, advocates and experts urged CBP to adopt guidelines that more strictly limit officers’ ability to shoot at unarmed people in moving cars, as part of the larger reform efforts started under President Barack Obama’s administration

Westlake Legal Group 5d5425c12400009301b7d797 A CBP Officer Shot An American In The Head. 6 Months Later, CBP Won’t Say Why.

John Moore via Getty Images An officer from the U.S. Office of Field Operations stands near the U.S.-Mexico border on Feb. 26, 2013, in Nogales, Arizona. Some 15,000 people cross between Mexico and the U.S. each day in Nogales, Arizona’s busiest border crossing.

Under Obama, CBP asked for a review of its officers’ and agents’ use of force, which covered January 2010 through October 2012. The resulting review, conducted by PERF and dated February 2013, identified this issue as one that needed “significant change.” Looking at 15 cases in which CBP agents fired at vehicles, PERF found that the agency appeared to allow officers to shoot at the driver of “any suspect vehicle” that came “in the direction of agents.” In many cases, agents were suspected to have moved into the exit path of a fleeing car on purpose, PERF wrote. Additionally, some agents on foot appeared to shoot at fleeing cars “out of frustration.” 

PERF recommended that CBP change its training and its policy to reflect the policies that “have proven effective in a number of large U.S. jurisdictions for over 40 years.” In May 2014, CBP announced it was revamping training and released a revised policy handbook that incorporated “law enforcement best practices,” according to the agency.

But the handbook didn’t exactly mirror PERF’s recommendation to avoid shooting at moving cars unless there’s a deadly use of force other than a moving vehicle. Instead, the new version carved out exemptions for circumstances in which the car itself is the only serious threat and noted that the hazard of an uncontrolled vehicle should be taken “into consideration.” 

Gil Kerlikowske, who served as commissioner of CBP from March 2014 to January 2017, told HuffPost that CBP didn’t adopt PERF’s recommended language because the CBP agents face different environmental conditions than city police officers. He cited a case in San Diego in which an agent fired at a vehicle on a “one-lane dirt road — so on the one side is a rock wall, on the other side is a 30- to 40-foot drop.” He added, “that land doesn’t always lend itself to being able to get out of the way, so we left that option open to the Border Patrol.” (Alpert, the professor, said city police officers also face situations where they can’t get out of the way because of the environment.) 

“There was enough of an environmental and operational change to not institute a blanket prohibition,” a CBP official confirmed. The agency would never want to cause officers or agents to make a “split-second decision involving their life or the life of another person due to a blanket prohibition in the policy,” the official added.

Looking at 15 cases in which CBP agents fired at vehicles, PERF found that the agency appeared to allow officers to shoot at the driver of ‘any suspect vehicle’ that came ‘in the direction of agents.’

In June 2015, a second group of law enforcement professionals, the Homeland Security Advisory Council’s CBP Integrity Advisory Panel, co-chaired by then-New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, reviewed the handbook and still recommended CBP consider placing specific restrictions on firing at moving vehicles. 

CBP viewed this as a “blanket prohibition” as well, and instead opted to emphasize training, the CBP official said. As part of the agency’s umbrella training on safe tactics, officers are specifically told they shouldn’t use their bodies to physically block a vehicle’s path.

The agency has made some progress on the reforms started under Obama. CBP’s use-of-force incidents involving firearms have been down “pretty markedly over the years,” Kerlikowske noted.  This is reflected in CBP data, which only recorded 15 use-of-force incidents involving firearms in FY2018, compared to 55 in FY2012. Under Obama, focusing on the vehicle issue wasn’t as critical as looking at the use of deadly force overall, the agency’s policy and its antiquated training, Kerlikowske argued. “The vehicle issue with the Border Patrol was never quite as significant as it is in a city police department,” he added. 

When asked whether CBP believed it followed the best practices promoted by other police departments, a CBP official replied: “I would say that we are in line with the intent of most other policies, although we probably do not follow their policies verbatim.”

But some civil rights advocates say CBP’s policy doesn’t go far enough. The American Civil Liberties Union has seen multiple cases since 2014 that suggest CBP’s lower standard on shooting at vehicles appears to have “led to lethal force incidents by CBP personnel that would be prohibited under prevailing standards,” said Chris Rickerd, a senior policy counsel at the ACLU. 

HuffPost identified several other recent cases where CBP officers appeared to shoot at moving cars. In February 2015,  for example, a Border Patrol agent running toward a Ford Explorer saw the car “moving towards him” and attempted to move out of the way, according to a probable cause statement in a complaint filed by the U.S. government. The agent then fired to “stop the vehicle from running him over,” according to the government, and the car “narrowly missed” him and fled. In another case on March 14, 2016, CBP officers fired after a driver “failed to comply with verbal commands to stop the vehicle,” according to the brief CBP statement. (A CBP official declined to comment on these cases, citing ongoing investigations.) 

The ACLU urges CBP leadership to end its “unjustified exceptionalism” and to change the policy to adopt the recommendations from PERF and the Homeland Security Advisory Council’s CBP Integrity Advisory Panel, Rickerd said.

Speaking of the current policy, he added, “we are deeply saddened by the unnecessary suffering that it has caused.”

Westlake Legal Group 5d541cab3b0000a912db89a3 A CBP Officer Shot An American In The Head. 6 Months Later, CBP Won’t Say Why.

ARIANA DREHSLER via Getty Images A metal fence marked with the U.S. Border Patrol insignia prevents people from getting close to the barbed/concertina wire covering the larger border fence in Nogales, Arizona, on Feb. 9, 2019.

In June, I drove with Mendivil Perez’s family more than an hour south from Tucson, past Elephant Head, a large rock formation that resembles the grizzled head of the animal. We were meeting Mendivil Perez on the Mexican side of the DeConcini crossing, within sight of the place he was shot months before.  When we got out of the car in Nogales, Arizona, to get ready to cross on foot, his sister and his mother, Nora, set up a black wheelchair for him on the sidewalk. 

Mendivil Perez’s family is small and close-knit. Nora, who had the sort of face that could be wholly consumed by a smile or a frown, was born in Tucson, Arizona, and grew up in Magdalena de Kino, Mexico. She later returned to the United States and now works as a custodian in Tucson.    

Mendivil Perez had woken up early that morning to catch a bus from Magdalena, where he was visiting his pregnant girlfriend, whom he has since married. His family had been planning a wedding for them before the shooting, but because of it, his sister told me, “we couldn’t make it a nice little wedding.” They got married through court instead. 

Mendivil Perez’s sister Eleonora hoped they might still have an opportunity to make up the celebration. “Memories mean a lot,” she said. “I would want my brother to at least experience something nice.” 

On the Mexican side of the border, when Mendivil Perez stepped out of the taxi he took from the bus station, he moved in the delicate manner of a much older man. He could move a short distance using a walker but relied on a wheelchair for longer distances. He was in rehabilitation, working to walk again and living with his mother in her mobile home. His family described him as struggling to keep his balance and forgetting conversations as he recovered from his brain injury.

When Mendivil Perez first found out he and his partner were having a girl, his sister said, he repeated himself: “Oh, did I tell you guys, I’m having a girl?” Yes, she said. “You already told us this, brother.”   

Westlake Legal Group 5d541db32200002f00f58932 A CBP Officer Shot An American In The Head. 6 Months Later, CBP Won’t Say Why.

Ash Ponders for HuffPost Eleonora Mendivil stands beside her brother, Angel Mendivil Perez, in her home in Tucson, Arizona, on Aug. 12, 2019. “I have to be dependent on somebody, like my sister or my mother, to get from point A to point B. I just want to be independent,” says Mendivil Perez.

Mendivil Perez’s medical bills are high; an incomplete bill HuffPost viewed that included the helicopter services to transfer him to the hospital in Arizona totaled over $117,000. His family said they were getting benefits through Arizona’s Medicaid agency. Previously, Mendivil Perez held down various part-time jobs, including landscaping. But now, “I have to be dependent on somebody, like my sister or my mother, to get from point A to point B,”  he told me, his voice so soft I had to crane closer to make out the words. “I just want to be independent,” he added.

Mendivil Perez said he was focused on his baby, who’s due in August. “As long as I can get myself to walk, I’m looking forward to getting a job,” he said. “That’s another thing that’s getting complicated, because the baby needs stuff and I can’t be like, ‘Oh, I’m going to go to work.’” 

The family is planning to file a claim and proceed with a lawsuit under the Federal Tort Claims Act, said Risner, Mendivil Perez’s attorney. They had not yet received any of the reports or information they requested from CBP, he noted. A CBP official and the officer’s attorney declined to comment on the planned lawsuit. 

As Eleonora pushed her brother’s wheelchair past the packed pedestrian side of the port of entry toward the United States, the mood was a bit anxious. She had told me earlier that her brother couldn’t really have anyone behind him anymore. “He thinks that everybody has a gun. He thinks everybody wants to shoot at him,” she said.   

I remembered how she emphasized that Mendivil Perez was “a really good kid,” and “not a bad, terrible kid.” But ultimately, whether Mendivil Perez was a “good” or “bad” kid is irrelevant to the question of why the officer shot him. The investigation will instead answer the legal question of whether the officer felt his or others’ safety was sufficiently jeopardized to use a form of force that very likely could have ended the 21-year-old’s life.

And there’s a larger question, too: the question of not just what the officer was allowed to do, but what he should have done — whether he needed to fire at all.  

A CBP official emphasized that generally, the review process for use-of-force incidents involves circling back to training, tactics and procedures so CBP can learn from these cases and “become better as an agency.”

But CBP is “used to operating with impunity” and “they’re never going to admit a mistake,” argued Richard Boren, a volunteer with the Border Patrol Victims Network, which advocates on behalf of families. “To me, there’s really no question that they nearly murdered an innocent person.” 

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Thomas holds on to win BMW Championship

Staked to a six-shot lead, Justin Thomas spent more time Sunday worrying about what could go wrong than ending 12 months without winning.

And right when it started to go wrong, Thomas delivered his biggest shots in the BMW Championship.

In a span of three holes around the turn at Medinah, his six-shot lead shrunk to two. Thomas answered with two clutch wedge shots, two big putts and sailed to a 4-under 68 to secure a three-shot victory over Patrick Cantlay, who gave him a battle to the end with a 65.

“Patrick played unbelievably, put a lot of heat on me,” Thomas said. “In the end, it could have been good for me. It kept me focused, kept my head down. … I was really nervous going into today. I remembered that it’s really hard to win a golf tournament, and I’m glad that I was able to do so.”

The timing was ideal.

His first victory since the World Golf Championship at Firestone last year moved him to the top of the FedEx Cup going into the Tour Championship, where he will start the tournament at 10-under par with a two-shot lead under the new scoring format as the final 30 players chase a $15 million first prize.

“I can certainly say I never slept on a Wednesday lead,” Thomas said.

Cantlay, who made four straight birdies around the turn, secured the No. 2 position and will start at 8 under. Brooks Koepka will be 7 under, a staggered start all the way down to even par for the final five players.

That includes Lucas Glover, who went bogey-double bogey until finishing with a two-putt par from 40 feet to secure his first trip to the Tour Championship in 10 years.

It will not include Masters champion Tiger Woods, the defending champion.

Woods was a long shot going into the final round to crack the top 30, and he closed with a 72. East Lake was his first victory in five years, capping his return from four back surgeries, a special moment replaced some six months later by his Masters victory.

“It’s disappointing,” Woods said. “Last year culminated in a pretty special moment for me and would have been nice to go back there.”

Hideki Matsuyama took the 36-hole lead with a 63 until falling back with a 73. He responded with another 63 to finish alone in third, making him one of three players who moved into the top 30 to reach East Lake. The other was Jason Kokrak, but only after J.T. Poston made bogey on his final hole.

The final day to earn the eight automatic spots on the Presidents Cup changed nothing for either team.

Bryson DeChambeau held onto the final spot for the Americans when Tony Finau, who needed to finish alone in third, closed with a 69 and finished fourth. Jason Day failed to work his way into an automatic spot for the International side.

There wasn’t supposed to be much drama in the tournament, either, not with Thomas coming off a 61 to build a six-shot lead. Only seven players dating to 1928 had ever lost a six-shot lead on the PGA Tour. Thomas didn’t want to be the next.

That’s why he shut off his phone on his way to the course. It seemed everyone but him had already declared him the winner, and he found no refuge in the locker room.

“Guys giving me advice in the locker room how to finish off a tournament,” Thomas said. “I was like, ‘I’ve done this a couple times guys but, thank you.’ That’s what I was saying on the way over here. It’s a lot of the outside noise that makes it harder sometimes to stay focused.”

And the nature of that advice?

“Talk to your caddie a lot. Make sure you keep talking,” Thomas said. “‘OK, as long as you stop talking it’s fine with me.'”

He did talk to his caddie, mostly to get yardage from the rough because he didn’t hit a fairway until the fifth hole. Cantlay also got off to a slow start, and Thomas still had his six-shot lead through seven holes. But not for long.

Cantlay made an 8-foot birdie on No. 7, followed with a 12-foot birdie on No. 8 and a 6-foot birdie on No. 9. Thomas then helped out by hitting his second to the par-5 10th under a tree, hitting left-handed to get it out and making bogey. Cantlay made his fourth straight birdie, and the lead was down to two with eight holes remaining.

That’s when Thomas came to life with a wedge to 2 feet for birdie.

“The birdie on 11 was huge,” Thomas said. “That propelled me for the rest of the round.”

More important was his 12-foot par putt on the next hole. And then after Cantlay rolled in a 15-foot birdie on the par-3 13th, Thomas matched him from 12 feet.

Cantlay, who had nine birdies in the final round, missed an 8-foot birdie putt on the 14th and a 15-foot eagle putt on the 15th after driving onto the green.

“When you’re as far behind as you are, you kind of need everything to right,” Cantlay said. “Neither of those putts dropped at a point where I needed them to.”

Thomas finished at 25-under 263 — seven shots lower than what Woods shot at Medinah when he won the 2006 PGA Championship — and earned $1,665,000. Even more money is at stake next week, though this was a burden lifted. All he cared about was winning.

Westlake Legal Group GOLF-Justin-Thomas Thomas holds on to win BMW Championship fox-news/sports/golf fnc/sports fnc Associated Press article a8ce1119-ea51-52d3-927d-7174b085f993   Westlake Legal Group GOLF-Justin-Thomas Thomas holds on to win BMW Championship fox-news/sports/golf fnc/sports fnc Associated Press article a8ce1119-ea51-52d3-927d-7174b085f993

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Trump Hit With Fact-Check After Claiming New York Times Is ‘Losing A Fortune’

Westlake Legal Group 5d5a690c240000f106ba02bb Trump Hit With Fact-Check After Claiming New York Times Is ‘Losing A Fortune’

President Donald Trump was hit with a fact-check on Sunday after declaring that The New York Times was “losing a fortune” and would soon be “out of business.”

Trump tweeted that the Times ― his hometown’s paper of record and one of his favorite media targets ― had “zero credibility” and would fold “soon after I leave office.”

He went on to say that he was “fairly certain” that the paper would endorse him during the 2020 presidential election “just to keep it all going.”

Minutes later, Peter Baker, the chief White House correspondent for the Times, tweeted this fact-check:

Earlier this month, the Times reported a 5.2% increase in total revenue to $436.3 million in the second quarter of 2019 compared to the same period in 2018. The company also reported a $37.9 million operating profit in Q2 of this year ― a dip from the same period the year before, which the company attributed to investment in growing their subscription business.

The company’s CEO and president Mark Thompson said in a statement that the Times had enjoyed “another strong quarter in digital subscription growth and we’re making steady progress toward our goal of reaching 10 million total subscriptions by 2025.”

Thompson said the company had added almost 200,000 new digital-only subscriptions in the second quarter of 2019. All told, the paper has 4.7 million total subscriptions, he said.

President Trump criticized the Times more than once on Sunday. Hours before his claim about the paper’s dwindling fortunes, Trump accused the “failing New York Times” for practicing “crooked” journalism and going on a “Racism Witch Hunt” against him. 

Though Trump did not elaborate on his accusations against the Times, the magazine Slate suggested the president was referring to a leaked recording of comments made recently by Dean Baquet, the paper’s executive editor, at an internal town hall meeting.

During the town hall, Baquet discussed and fielded questions about the Times’ coverage of the Trump administration, according to the transcript of the recording, published last week by Slate. Baquet also addressed the public backlash the company faced for a controversial front-page headline on Trump’s response to two mass shootings ― and defended the paper’s reluctance to use the word “racist” to describe the president.

“This is a really hard story, newsrooms haven’t confronted one like this since the 1960s,” Baquet told staffers of covering Trump. “It got trickier after [inaudible] … went from being a story about whether the Trump campaign had colluded with Russia and obstruction of justice to being a more head-on story about the president’s character. We built our newsroom to cover one story, and we did it truly well. Now we have to regroup, and shift resources and emphasis to take on a different story. I’d love your help with that.”   

Baquet later elaborated on this point:

I think that we’ve got to change. I mean, the vision for coverage for the next two years is what I talked about earlier: How do we cover a guy who makes these kinds of remarks? How do we cover the world’s reaction to him? How do we do that while continuing to cover his policies?

How do we cover America, that’s become so divided by Donald Trump? How do we grapple with all the stuff you all are talking about? How do we write about race in a thoughtful way, something we haven’t done in a large way in a long time? That, to me, is the vision for coverage.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Early end of season for Woods doesn’t take away from Masters

For the fifth time in the last six years, August on the PGA Tour means no more Tiger Woods for the rest of the season.

Only now he’s healthy.

He also is the Masters champion. And that makes it a season he wouldn’t trade.

“Very special to win my 15th major and get my fifth jacket,” Woods said Sunday. “Those are special moments to be able to have an opportunity like that. And the rest of the tournaments I didn’t really play as well as I wanted. But at the end of the day, I’m the one with the green jacket.”

Rarely has Woods smiled so wide after not meeting a goal.

His season ended at Medinah, where he won two PGA Championship titles at the peak of his game and his health. He closed with an even-par 72 in the BMW Championship and tied for 37th, nowhere near what he needed to move into the top 30 in the FedEx Cup and advance to the season-ending Tour Championship next week at East Lake.

“It’s disappointing,” Woods said about not returning to Atlanta. “I wish I could have. Last year culminated in a pretty special moment for me, and it would have been nice to go back there. But I’ll be watching the guys on TV.”

It will be the 15th time in his career that Woods did not show up to defend a title on the PGA Tour, remarkable considering that Fred Couples only won 15 times in his career. The other occasions of not defending a title usually involved a change in the schedule, a tournament ending or health reasons.

This is the first time because he wasn’t eligible.

He started the PGA Tour postseason at No. 28, but withdrew after a 75 in the first round at Liberty National with what he called a mild oblique strain. That dropped him to No. 38 in the FedEx Cup, and he finished at No. 42.

It was mildly surprising Woods even made it to Medinah to give it a try, and he looked fairly normal, except for some rust. He gave it his best shot at returning to the scene of perhaps the biggest moment in golf last year — a victory at East Lake, with thousands of fans spilling inside the ropes to watch Woods cap off his comeback from four back surgeries by beating the best players.

And then he did it again where it really matters — a major.

Woods needed some help from Francesco Molinari’s tee shot into Rae’s Creek on the 12th hole in the final round, and similar blunders by Brooks Koepka and Tony Finau, but he looked like the Woods of old instead of an old Woods with his mistake-free finish for a 15th major, his first in 11 years.

Just like that, the count to Jack Nicklaus and his 18 majors was on again.

Instead, that was as good as it got.

He spoke vaguely of his back not being right in the cold of Bethpage Black for the PGA Championship in May, his first tournament since the Masters. He never got on track at Pebble Beach for the U.S. Open. After another long break, he missed the cut at the British Open and then simply wanted to get home.

But he won the Masters, and that makes up for a lot.

“It’s like I told him coming off 18, he’s got the jacket. That’s all that matters,” caddie Joe LaCava said. “I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t disappointed with the second half of the season. If I was happy and satisfied, I shouldn’t be in the industry.”

LaCava also has a sense of how Woods is feeling at age 43 with eight surgeries — four on his knee through 2008, four on his back since 2014.

“By the time we get around to next year, he’ll be refocused and be ready and get after it,” La Cava said.

The season is over. The year is not.

Woods heads home for a nine-week break before returning for the first PGA Tour event in Japan at the end of October. He has his Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas the first week of December, followed by his role as U.S. captain in the Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne.

He did not make the team. It would be surprising if he picked himself, especially playing only one tournament in Japan, for one of his four captain’s choices.

Woods finished the season with 12 tournaments, his shortest PGA Tour season when healthy without any outside distractions. He wasn’t always tournament sharp, and now he has two months of no competition.

“I think right now the most important thing is fitness, for sure,” Woods said. “Keep going the way I’m going right now because I need to get a little bit stronger in certain body parts, activate different areas. I need to get those parts stronger and then starting building up my game for Japan.”

He won’t be in Georgia next week for the Tour Championship.

Instead, Woods will be at home in South Florida where he has a green jacket to remind him that yes, it was a year worth celebrating.

Westlake Legal Group GOLF-Tiger-Woods13 Early end of season for Woods doesn't take away from Masters fox-news/sports/golf fox-news/person/tiger-woods fnc/sports fnc df9918be-09ea-544b-ba5f-9d9357c13738 Associated Press article   Westlake Legal Group GOLF-Tiger-Woods13 Early end of season for Woods doesn't take away from Masters fox-news/sports/golf fox-news/person/tiger-woods fnc/sports fnc df9918be-09ea-544b-ba5f-9d9357c13738 Associated Press article

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Trump Hit With Fact-Check After Claiming New York Times Is ‘Losing A Fortune’

Westlake Legal Group 5d5a690c240000f106ba02bb Trump Hit With Fact-Check After Claiming New York Times Is ‘Losing A Fortune’

President Donald Trump was hit with a fact-check on Sunday after declaring that The New York Times was “losing a fortune” and would soon be “out of business.”

Trump tweeted that the Times ― his hometown’s paper of record and one of his favorite media targets ― had “zero credibility” and would fold “soon after I leave office.”

He went on to say that he was “fairly certain” that the paper would endorse him during the 2020 presidential election “just to keep it all going.”

Minutes later, Peter Baker, the chief White House correspondent for the Times, tweeted this fact-check:

Earlier this month, the Times reported a 5.2% increase in total revenue to $436.3 million in the second quarter of 2019 compared to the same period in 2018. The company also reported a $37.9 million operating profit in Q2 of this year ― a dip from the same period the year before, which the company attributed to investment in growing their subscription business.

The company’s CEO and president Mark Thompson said in a statement that the Times had enjoyed “another strong quarter in digital subscription growth and we’re making steady progress toward our goal of reaching 10 million total subscriptions by 2025.”

Thompson said the company had added almost 200,000 new digital-only subscriptions in the second quarter of 2019. All told, the paper has 4.7 million total subscriptions, he said.

President Trump criticized the Times more than once on Sunday. Hours before his claim about the paper’s dwindling fortunes, Trump accused the “failing New York Times” for practicing “crooked” journalism and going on a “Racism Witch Hunt” against him. 

Though Trump did not elaborate on his accusations against the Times, the magazine Slate suggested the president was referring to a leaked recording of comments made recently by Dean Baquet, the paper’s executive editor, at an internal town hall meeting.

During the town hall, Baquet discussed and fielded questions about the Times’ coverage of the Trump administration, according to the transcript of the recording, published last week by Slate. Baquet also addressed the public backlash the company faced for a controversial front-page headline on Trump’s response to two mass shootings ― and defended the paper’s reluctance to use the word “racist” to describe the president.

“This is a really hard story, newsrooms haven’t confronted one like this since the 1960s,” Baquet told staffers of covering Trump. “It got trickier after [inaudible] … went from being a story about whether the Trump campaign had colluded with Russia and obstruction of justice to being a more head-on story about the president’s character. We built our newsroom to cover one story, and we did it truly well. Now we have to regroup, and shift resources and emphasis to take on a different story. I’d love your help with that.”   

Baquet later elaborated on this point:

I think that we’ve got to change. I mean, the vision for coverage for the next two years is what I talked about earlier: How do we cover a guy who makes these kinds of remarks? How do we cover the world’s reaction to him? How do we do that while continuing to cover his policies?

How do we cover America, that’s become so divided by Donald Trump? How do we grapple with all the stuff you all are talking about? How do we write about race in a thoughtful way, something we haven’t done in a large way in a long time? That, to me, is the vision for coverage.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Jack Whitaker, Hall of Fame sports broadcaster, dies at 95

Jack Whitaker, whose Hall of Fame broadcasting career ranged from the first Super Bowl to Secretariat’s Triple Crown to short essays from major sporting events, died Sunday morning, CBS reported.

The network said Whitaker died of natural causes in his sleep in Devon, Pennsylvania. He was 95.

Whitaker, a Philadelphia native who was wounded on Omaha Beach three days after the D-Day Invasion, began his broadcast career at WCAU-TV in Philadelphia and spent 22 years for CBS Sports. He worked for ABC from 1982 in the news and sports divisions, and was part of the network’s Olympics coverage in 1984 and 1988.

“I grew up watching him deliver contemplative and contextual prose with his famous short essays, bringing class and dignity to his industry,” Jim Nantz, the lead CBS Sports announcer, said in a statement. “I spoke to him this week after hospice came to his home, and his mind was still brilliantly sharp right to the end.”

Whitaker had been the only living play-by-play announcer from the first 21 Super Bowls.

CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus said Whitaker’s writing, presence on air and humanity were unmatched.

“His unique perspective on sports ranging from horse racing to golf to NFL football was extraordinary,” McManus said.

Westlake Legal Group MEDIA-Jack-Whitaker Jack Whitaker, Hall of Fame sports broadcaster, dies at 95 fox-news/sports/olympics fox-news/sports/nfl fox-news/sports/horse-racing fox-news/media fnc/sports fnc Associated Press article 13ca9d77-a013-500b-a833-96207ee70f62   Westlake Legal Group MEDIA-Jack-Whitaker Jack Whitaker, Hall of Fame sports broadcaster, dies at 95 fox-news/sports/olympics fox-news/sports/nfl fox-news/sports/horse-racing fox-news/media fnc/sports fnc Associated Press article 13ca9d77-a013-500b-a833-96207ee70f62

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Madison Keys, Daniil Medvedev get 1st titles in Cincy

Two unexpected champions embraced their first Rookwood championship trophies, concluding a week that brought more questions than clarity to the upcoming U.S. Open.

Who’s going to be healthy on the women’s side? Will stumbles in the men’s bracket at the Western & Southern Open carry over to New York?

And are Madison Keys and Daniil Medvedev capable of carrying their newfound momentum into a Grand Slam event? After winning the biggest tournament title of their careers, they were already getting asked about how it might transfer to the bigger stage.

Keys rallied late in both sets and beat Svetlana Kuznetsova 7-5, 7-6 (5) Sunday for her second title of the season and easily the biggest of her career. After flameouts in her last three tournaments and a tough draw for the week, she couldn’t imagine the outcome.

Back on the court to receive the trophy, she told the crowd: “If you told me this is where I would be a week ago, I would have laughed in your face!”

Yet there she was, back in the Top 10 on a surprising upswing heading to New York.

She’ll move up to the No. 10 ranking after a gritty showing that was typical of her week. She broke Kuznetsova to pull even in both sets at 5-5 and then pulled them out with a steady serve.

Keys hadn’t made it past the second round in her last three tournaments, including Wimbledon. Now she’s got a good feeling with her favorite Grand Slam event at hand.

“It’s definitely a great building block,” Keys said. “I want to do well in New York and have a good end to the season.”

At 34, Kuznetsova was the oldest finalist in the Western & Southern Open’s history. She beat three top-10 players in a tournament — Sloane Stephens, Karolina Pliskova and Ashleigh Barty — for the first time in her 19-year career.

The 153rd-ranked player got a late start on the season as she completed a seven-month recovery from a knee injury. In her ninth tournament of the season, she got her game together and got her best result in two years.

“Honestly, I didn’t expect to be so good at this tournament,” she said.

After what happened in Cincinnati during the week, nobody knows what to expect in the women’s bracket in New York.

Serena Williams dropped out of Cincinnati because of back spasms that also forced her to withdraw from the final in Toronto. Naomi Osaka, the defending U.S. Open champion, withdrew from her semifinal match on Friday with discomfort in her left knee that left her worried about her condition heading to New York.

There’s some intrigue on the men’s side, too.

The bracket in Cincinnati was billed as a reunion of the Big Four — Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray back together for the first time since January. None of them made it to the final.

Nadal won the Rogers Cup last Sunday and withdrew from the Western & Southern, citing fatigue. Murray played singles for the first time since hip surgery in January and lost his opening match. Seven-time champion Federer was knocked out in the quarterfinals, and Djokovic lost to Medvedev in the semifinals with the crowd cheering him on.

The Russian thanked the crowd for its support after beat David Goffin 7-6 (3), 6-4 for his first Masters 1000 title Sunday. It was his third straight final, but the first time he’d won. Medvedev lost to Nadal on Montreal a week earlier, then went on to reach his sixth final of this season, most on the ATP tour. He’s won twice.

“To finally lift the trophy this week is an amazing feeling,” Medvedev said.

At age 23, he became the youngest Cincinnati champion since Murray at age 21 in 2008.

“Congratulations,” Goffin told him, “and I think you’re ready for New York.”

Westlake Legal Group TEN-Madison-Keys Madison Keys, Daniil Medvedev get 1st titles in Cincy fox-news/sports/tennis fnc/sports fnc Associated Press article 5746f910-f6e5-53da-9ecb-b20d10c5773c   Westlake Legal Group TEN-Madison-Keys Madison Keys, Daniil Medvedev get 1st titles in Cincy fox-news/sports/tennis fnc/sports fnc Associated Press article 5746f910-f6e5-53da-9ecb-b20d10c5773c

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Julián Castro’s Obama Moment

The night before Julián Castro delivered the keynote address at the 2012 Democratic National Convention for President Barack Obama’s re-election, he had eaten by himself at the T.G.I. Friday’s not far from the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, N.C.

No one recognized the 37-year-old mayor of San Antonio. As the other delegates party-hopped around Charlotte, Mr. Castro studied his notes over dinner and went to bed by 9 p.m. He wanted to be well-rested before giving the biggest speech of his political career — a speech that he and his family now remember as transforming everything.

“The next morning, when we walked down the street, he was just mobbed,” said Mr. Castro’s twin brother, Joaquin, who is a United States congressman. “It was this instantaneous example of how things can change so quickly.”

Mr. Castro’s speech, in a prime-time slot, burst him onto the national stage, just like the one that had catapulted Mr. Obama to superstardom in 2004. Mr. Castro symbolized a new moment in American politics: The grandson of a Mexican immigrant with a fourth-grade education, the young mayor talked about his family’s story, one so common for millions of Latinos and yet almost nonexistent at the highest level of national politics. “My family’s story isn’t special,” Mr. Castro said. “What’s special is the America that makes our story possible.”

The applause was raucous. The reviews were overwhelmingly glowing (“A Political Star is Born” and “A Latino Obama?” the headlines read). People started to recognize Mr. Castro, even if they often confused him for Joaquin. On the way back to San Antonio, a fan stopped him in a men’s room at the Atlanta airport to shake his hand. (“He wanted to shake my hand in a men’s room!” Mr. Castro said. “I couldn’t believe it.”) Political pundits declared the Castro brothers the future of the party.

“He was this kind of phenom and, you know, was this symbol of the growing diverse country,” David Axelrod, Mr. Obama’s chief strategist, said of Julián.

Party leaders waited for him to seize on his “Obama Moment.” And waited. And waited. And waited.

The keynote, as it turned out, became a turning point that didn’t quite turn him.

Now, as Mr. Castro seeks the Democratic nomination for president, he finds himself in a completely different political landscape. In 2012, both parties were courting Latino voters, and an incumbent Democratic president needed help softening his image as the “deporter in chief.” Today, the incumbent Republican president is pushing to build a wall between the United States and Mexico and has separated thousands of migrant families at the border.

Mr. Castro must convince his party that his Latino appeal, his record, his relative moderation and, most important, the themes he laid out in that 2012 speech — family, the immigrant experience, the importance of education — will resonate across a nation more divided than when he had his first star moment.

So far, however, Mr. Castro has mostly languished in polls, eclipsed first by another Texan, Beto O’Rourke, and then by another mayor, Pete Buttigieg. He is currently one qualifying poll away from earning a spot in the September debate.

Some Democrats wondered earlier this year whether Mr. Castro’s problem was that he peaked too soon. One challenge was that there was no clear path forward from the Charlotte convention. His most logical next step, running for statewide office, was all but impossible given his home state: Republicans had dominated Texas politics for more than two decades. The state was changing — by the 2020 presidential election, the Democratic-leaning Latino population could turn it purple. But back then, Mr. Castro seemed stuck.

In 2014, he became Mr. Obama’s housing secretary. Two years later, he stumped for Hillary Clinton and was floated as a potential running mate. Last year he published a memoir, the kind that maybe-presidential candidates often publish. (“In the spirit of a young Barack Obama’s ‘Dreams From My Father,’” the book’s description reads.)

After Mr. Castro’s solid performance in the first presidential debate in June, Democrats asked his finance chair, Scott Atlas, a lawyer in Houston, where he’d been hiding Mr. Castro. Mr. Atlas would go red in the face reminding them of his 2012 speech. “I said, ‘He’s been hiding in plain sight!’”

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_60474364_f3544a57-c0fe-4ffd-bfdc-3fc290d6c2f2-articleLarge Julián Castro’s Obama Moment United States Politics and Government Presidential Election of 2020 Castro, Julian

Julián Castro’s record as mayor of San Antonio earned him national praise. CreditMichael Stravato for The New York Times

Even before the speech, Mr. Castro’s record as mayor, particularly his success implementing a universal pre-K program, had earned him national praise. At a 2010 forum on economic development at the White House, Mr. Castro, who was 35 at the time, looked so young that Mr. Obama joked that he thought he was an intern. “This guy’s a mayor?” he asked.

Two years later, Mr. Obama’s re-election campaign saw that his path to defeat Mitt Romney relied on high Latino turnout to hold Nevada and Colorado.

This would be a challenge for the president, who faced criticism from immigration activists and Latino advocacy groups over aggressive deportation policies and his failure to make progress on overhauling the immigration system.

Mr. Obama’s campaign manager, Jim Messina, crunched the numbers and called the White House from the campaign’s Chicago headquarters to report that the re-election effort had a Latino problem.

In June 2012, Mr. Obama announced an executive action to protect some young undocumented immigrants, known as Dreamers. (It also helped that Mr. Romney had stumbled by saying he favored “self deportation.”) The campaign needed something else, though, recalled Frank Sharry, the executive director of America’s Voice, an immigration advocacy group. The Democratic Party, he said, was asking, “Who is the Obama-like Latino who can electrify the convention?”

Enter Mr. Castro, in one of the most coveted speaking gigs in American politics.

Mr. Obama’s speech at the 2004 convention, a rebuke of a divided red and blue America under President George W. Bush, had been such a sensation that it laid the groundwork for his 2008 presidential campaign. Before the 2012 convention, Mr. Castro hadn’t ever delivered a speech using a teleprompter.

“I’d never been in front of a national audience before, and this would be 19,000 people in the arena and another 25 million watching, so it was literally stepping up to a different league,” Mr. Castro recalled.

The Obama campaign had polled how several potential keynote speakers might go over, but Mr. Castro’s personal narrative — the single mom, the bootstraps, the journey from public schools in a poverty-stricken, predominantly Hispanic area of San Antonio to degrees from Stanford and Harvard — seemed like the best message.

“The Latino thing was important to us because that was one place where we had to run up the numbers against Romney,” Mr. Messina said. But mostly it was Mr. Castro’s biography that appealed. “He was the Latino version of Barack Obama — at least in his story, if not the talent.”

Mr. Castro took a break from rehearsing his keynote speech with his wife, Erica, and daughter, Carina, in Charlotte, N.C.CreditLisa Krantz/San Antonio Express-News

In July 2012, Mr. Messina called Mr. Castro in San Antonio to offer him the keynote address at the upcoming convention. Mr. Castro sent an aide out to scramble around South Texas to find the nearest teleprompter so he could begin to practice.

The Obama campaign sent a couple of speech coaches to run through practice sessions in Charlotte. “He’d start delivering it and they’d say, ‘Don’t yell into the mic,’ and, ‘Don’t lean back and forth from the mic,’” recalled his communications director at the time, Jaime Castillo.

Mr. Castro told Mr. Messina that he wanted to write his own speech, or at least most of it. Ever the student, he studied the greatest hits of convention speeches. There was Ann Richards’s 1988 address (“Poor George, he can’t help it — he was born with a silver foot in his mouth”), Mario Cuomo’s 1984 speech (“This nation is more ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ than it is just a ‘shining city on a hill’”), and, of course, Mr. Obama’s in 2004 speech (“There’s not a liberal America and a conservative America; there’s the United States of America”).

“The common theme that connected them was the way you communicate your personal story, your aspirational vision for the future of the country — those things never go out of style,” Mr. Castro said.

The campaign largely agreed to leave it to the Castro brothers, but they did cut “this idea of infrastructure of opportunity we’d both been talking about for a while because they thought it sounded too technical,” Joaquin Castro said. The brothers convinced the Obama campaign to leave the line about the American dream being “not a sprint or even a marathon, but a relay,” passed from one generation or another — a line Julián Castro uses often in his 2020 campaign.

Mr. Castro was introduced by his twin brother, Joaquin, at the convention in 2012.CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

Mr. Castro divided his remarks into three parts: First, there was the story of growing up the son of a single mom, raised partly by his grandmother Victoria, who had left Mexico when she was a child and worked as a maid most of her life, “barely scraping by, but still working hard to give my mother, her only child, a chance in life so that my mother could give my brother and me an even better one.” Then, he criticized Mr. Romney, delivering the red meat that the party and re-election campaign demanded. (“Mitt Romney, quite simply, doesn’t get it.”) Finally, he told voters why they should choose Mr. Obama.

He’d done several rehearsals on the stage, but 30 seconds after Joaquin introduced him, Mr. Castro clutched the podium, felt the heat of the bright lights and thought he might pass out. (He later confessed that to Mr. Obama, who said that he, too, felt faint before his 2004 keynote.) Mr. Castro got more comfortable as he went on. Watch it on YouTube and you can see his hands unclenching, his expression soften. By the time Mr. Castro concluded, reciting the Spanish words his grandmother had whispered to him — “Que dios te bendiga,” may God bless you — the room roared.

“It didn’t launch him the way it did Barack Obama,” Mr. Messina said. “But he gave a very good speech that was good for us and, for a moment, he was this very big thing nationally.”

In his 2020 campaign, Mr. Castro has led the party left in the immigration debate. He was the first candidate to propose repealing a section of the immigration laws that criminalizes illegal border crossings. It’s a position that some Republicans believe can be used against the Democrats in a general election where “decriminalization” likely won’t play as well as a proposal framed simply around ending family separations. But almost all of the major Democratic candidates have followed Mr. Castro’s lead on border crossing policy, reflecting both where primary voters stand on the issue and a desire to draw a sharp contrast between the party and President Trump’s views.

“Our current president, for whatever reason, has decided to paint brown people as dangerous and dirty and unwanted, so we need brown people represented,” said Patti Solis Doyle, a Democratic operative and one of Mrs. Clinton’s campaign managers in 2008.

The Castro brothers believe that the current climate makes the echoes of that first major speech and their family’s story even more potent. They dusted off the 2012 keynote address to prepare for the first Democratic primary debate in Miami.

During the debate, as his opponents spoke, Mr. Castro scribbled on a notepad a closing statement that what was essentially a 47-second distillation of his 20-minute convention speech. He repeated the story of his immigrant roots, and he declared that the nation would soon say “adiós” to Mr. Trump. “There is a direct line between what I talked about in 2012 and what I am campaigning on in 2019,” Mr. Castro said.

Mr. Castro and Senator Cory Booker during the Democratic presidential debate in Miami in June.CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

Online donations in the two days after the June debate spiked 3,255 percent from the previous two days, according to the campaign. Caucusgoers started to show up in greater numbers to his town halls in Iowa. The merchandise on his website inspired by the Mexican lottery started to sell out.

“Before the debate, people said, ‘I don’t know why you’re doing this. This guy isn’t ready for prime time,’” Mr. Atlas, the lawyer and finance chair, said. “After the debate, they said, ‘I take it back! I take it back!’”

Mr. Castro delivered a less standout performance in the second debate in Detroit. But he is optimistic about his chances to make the September debate stage, in his home state of Texas. His mom, Rosie, said her son, who doesn’t look or act like most of his opponents, has an advantage. “He’s a calm guy. He’s not a good ol’ boy. He’s not a back slapper. He’s quiet and introspective and likes to read,” she said. “People always end up underestimating him.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Americans’ Favorite Potato Dishes, Revealed

It’s no secret Americans really like potatoes. The starchy plant is by far the most commonly consumed vegetable in the U.S.

But what’s the most popular way to consume potatoes? The answer is, unsurprisingly, in french fry form.

In honor of National Potato Day, DoorDash analyzed its order data to find the most popular potato-based dishes in the U.S.

Westlake Legal Group 5d544a872400003500b7e783 Americans’ Favorite Potato Dishes, Revealed

Annabelle Breakey via Getty Images

French fries are the most popular potato food items in the U.S., according to DoorDash. 

According to the delivery service’s analysis, 69 percent of potato dishes ordered in the U.S. this year have been french fries ― making them the No. 1 pick in the spud rankings. As for Americans’ favorite kind of fries, the traditional french fry dominates, followed by waffle fries.

Most Popular Potato Orders In The U.S. In 2019

  1. French fries
  2. Hash browns
  3. Waffle fries
  4. Mashed potatoes
  5. Potato salad
  6. Tater tots
  7. Baked potato
  8. Potato skins
  9. Home fries
  10. Loaded tater tots

DoorDash’s 2019 rankings are based on all potato dish orders placed with the service from January to July. A representative for the company told HuffPost there were 4.4 million orders in that time period.

The data also showed that traditional fries beat hash browns and home fries in terms of potato items ordered at breakfast time. Still, hash browns were the second most popular spud dish for breakfast and overall, making up 18 percent of all potato orders.

Other top potato dishes include mashed potatoes, potato salad and tater tots.

And as for accouterments, cheese sauce was the most popular condiment for potato orders in both 2018 and 2019. Ketchup rose from No. 4 in 2018 to No. 2 in 2019 ― a 3,433 percent increase, according to DoorDash.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com