Ex-Jailer Fired After Inmate Death Sues to Get Job Back

Categories: Courts

Taylor says if the guy who threw the punch was rehired, he should be too.
A Harris County detention officer fired in the wake of an inmate death is suing Sheriff Adrian Garcia and the Civil Service Commission in a bid to get his job back.

Christopher Taylor claims that he was unfairly singled out, because two other officers fired after the 2011 incident were later rehired. One of those officers punched the inmate -- a 72-year-old man with a history of schizophrenia -- who later died at Ben Taub, according to the suit, filed Tuesday.

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UPDATED: USDA Warns UH Over Monkey Dehydration Death

Categories: Education

Jean-Pierre Dalbera
Some water would be nice...
The USDA has warned the University of Houston that it could face severe penalties if it doesn't correct conditions in its research lab, where two rhesus monkeys have died since 2012.

The August letter was triggered by a March 2014 incident where three rhesus macaques closed a divider in their cage, cutting themselves off from the enclosure's water supply. One monkey died and two were treated for clinical dehydration.

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If You've Got a Ticket From One of These Four HPD Officers, Today's Your Lucky Day

Categories: Crime

Scott Davidson
Rudolph Farias, John Garcia, Robert Manzanales and Gregory Rosa.

If you've got an outstanding traffic citation from HPD, you'll want to check to see if any of these officers scrawled their name on your ticket. In light of an internal investigation into charges that the officers ran a ticket-rigging scam, bilking the department for thousands of dollars in overtime pay, HPD and the city attorney's office have opted to dismiss some 6,000 traffic tickets.

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NFL: This Weekend's Best Bets

Joel Kramer
Coming into the season, we all knew the Texans' schedule was relatively light. Granted, every team on the Texans' schedule was looking at the Texans as one of their opponents to justify thinking the same thing.

But here we are, two weeks in, and with the Texans at 2-0, the Colts at 0-2, and the NFC East being even worse than we'd thought, suddenly this is getting really interesting.

Check out the latest Super Bowl odds, courtesy of Bovada, with the Texans 2014 opponents in bold:

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The Houston Press Is Looking for a Few Good Videographers

Categories: Our Staff

Photos by Yuri Peña
Houston has millions of stories. We need your help sharing them.
Here at the Houston Press, we're all about sharing the stories of the city we live in. We're big believers in the power of storytelling and the need for certain stories to be told.

We're looking for new people to help us share the stories of Houston to a larger audience. More specifically, we're looking for a few good videographers who have the same passion for storytelling that we do.

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A Tradition Like No Other: NFL Jackasses Getting Arrested for Domestic Violence

Parker Anderson
Ok, NFL, you are seriously ridiculous.

Perhaps it's unfair of me to address the league as one collective entity, because honestly, most of the guys in the league, all of the ones I've associated closely with, are seemingly good people. They do things for charities, they're kind to other adults and to children, they look you in the eye when they address you.

However, the commissioner of the NFL is a goddamn clown (the Michael Scott to the NFL's Dunder Mifflin), a vast contingency of the owners and coaches are wishy-washy, flippy-floppy billionaire empty suits, and yes, I'm sorry, players, but this small little cadre of wife and child beaters are ruining the bunch for me right now.

Yesterday, I joked that maybe we would make it through one radio show (NOTE: I do four hours from 2 to 6 p.m. every day on Sports Radio 610.) without a domestic violence incident involving an NFL player being reported.

Well, I was partially right. There wasn't a single one.

There were actually two.

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Houston Cop Tells Senate Committee, "We Are Not the NSA," Argues Against Cell-Phone Privacy Protections

Categories: Tech, Texas

flickr user ario
Houston police officer James Taylor really wants you to know one thing about local cops: HPD is not the National Security Agency, "nor are we the federal government."

Taylor repeated the mantra several times in testimony before the Texas Senate's State Affairs Committee this week, insisting efforts to limit cops' access to cell-phone location data will - and, in fact, already has - fatally hamstrung the efforts of local police. Whether you believe that depends on how you read a dizzying, hatchet-job law that lawmakers updated last session and whether you think such "metadata" - call log information, location data, and other records - is inherently sensitive and deserving of strict safeguards against police snooping.

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Texas Nursing Homes Worst in the Nation

Categories: Public Health

Photo by Ulrich Joho

Nursing homes in Texas can't seem to get it right, complained a Florida advocacy group. Texas was ranked last for the second year in a row according to Families for Better Care, receiving an walloping "F" across six out of eight categories of measurement.

According to the group's report card, staff-to-resident ratio decreased overall in Texas over the past year, resulting in less than 20 percent of the state's nursing homes scoring above average inspection ratings. Nearly 95 percent of facilities were cited for some violation of federal or state laws.

Texas' best category was a "C" in the number of facilities with "severe deficiencies," which means that only about 17 percent of nursing homes are major failures. Which is something?

"Nursing home owners and state officials can't seem to get nursing home care right in the Lone Star state," said Brian Lee, executive director of Families for Better Care. "Failing to improve the state's already dreadful nursing home record is absolutely shameful."

The group went on to scold local nursing homes for providing residents only two hours of direct care a day on average, but Texas' firm handle on last place seems to suggest there's no urgency to improve conditions in the state. If you love your elders, send them to Rhode Island, which Families for Better Care ranked first in the nation.

Root! Root! for Root Sports Houston!

Say hello to the new name of CSN Houston.
If Judge Marvin Isgur approves the bankruptcy plan proposed for CSN Houston, Houston sports fans will be able to watch the Rockets this season. They'll no longer be able to watch the Dynamo, or any of the Houston-centric sportscasts aired by CSN Houston, but the return of the World Poker Tour should make up for that, right?

Word came down Tuesday that if the plan is approved, 75 of the network's 105 employees will lose their jobs. That includes most of the on-air talent and the behind-the-scenes personnel such as camera and graphics operators, producers, statisticians and other support personnel. These people aren't required for DirecTV/AT&T operations because with these entities, local product is strongly discouraged.

Most of Houston never had the chance to see CSN Houston because of disputes between network owners and the other various cable/satellite providers over the cost of distributing the network. AT&T/DirecTV will tell you the cost was too high. Astros owner/network partner Jim Crane says that that price point was established by Drayton McLane and Les Alexander so they're the ones at fault, and Crane has filed a lawsuit against McLane alleging fraud because of this. And if you talk to McLane, he'll strongly dispute this contention. But no matter who was at fault -- something that may be known only after many years of lawsuits -- the fact remains that over 60 percent of the Houston market was unable to view the network.

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Appeals Court Strikes Down "Improper Photography" Law

Categories: Courts

chris white
A Texas appeals court has ruled the state can't ban "improper photography" in public places, striking down a sweeping law that criminalized photos taken in public "with the intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person."

Like many free speech battles, the underlying case that triggered the ruling involves some rather creepy behavior. San Antonio prosecutors charged Ronald Thompson, a middle-aged Kentucky man, with "improper photography" alleging that in 2011 parents at a local SeaWorld waterpark found him swimming with and snapping photos of children in their bathing suits. "It's not a bunch of kids with smiles on their faces and that's it. I don't think you have a First Amendment privilege to invade someone's sexuality," Bexar County DA Susan Reed told the local paper when the case was appealed last year.

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