Upstart New Braunfels Newspaper Says Its Drivers Harassed by Cops

Categories: Texas, Whatever

NB Citizen: Hard-hitting journalism that takes on City Hall, or just front-lawn litter? You be the judge.
In case you weren't aware, a war (of sorts) has been brewing in the otherwise sleepy hamlet of New Braunfels. Late last year, Leonidas Patrick "Mark" McGonical, a critic of a new can-ban law that keeps tubers on the Comal River from bringing disposable containers, launched a newspaper called the NB Citizen. Believing that the long-running New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung was just a tool of the political establishment, McGonical thought his new endeavor, the NB Citizen, would be the voice of the people.

But NB Citizen publisher Mike Reynolds and editor Matt Fields say their delivery drivers were harassed and intimidated by local police -- to the point where they ceased delivering over 18,000 copies of the weekly paper to individual homes, and now distribute through racks set up in local businesses.

Fields told Hair Balls that the newspaper filed complaints with the New Braunfels Police Department, accusing police of either stopping drivers or making harassing remarks on at least three occasions. In one instance, according to Fields, an officer told a driver that he would ticket her for littering if she missed any driveways; in another, an officer allegedly stopped a driver and asked her how she knew where not to throw the trash. In the third incident, an officer allegedly cited a driver for violating vehicle emissions standards. Fields said he immediately took the driver's car for an inspection -- which the car passed.

Fields said he let his concerns be known to police department higher-ups, telling them, "Y'all are going out and harassing my employees -- is this the game we're going to play?"

Fields and Reynolds also voiced their concerns at a March City Council meeting, during which none of the council seemed particularly interested.

Police Captain John McDonald told us he was only aware of one formal complaint, which he said was investigated and determined to be unfounded.

"It's just the normal course of our officers doing their job," McDonald said.

In a letter to a delivery driver who filed a complaint earlier this month -- the one who accused the officer of calling the papers "trash" -- Police Chief Thomas Wilbert wrote that the officer was only "following up on complaints...regarding unwanted newspapers being thrown in residents' yards. In fact, on a prior date, [the officer] personally took a report from a resident who contacted NBPD and demanded to press charges against the NB Citizen for littering in their yard, and a newspaper was taken and marked as evidence." (Apparently, people in New Braunfels have a lot on their plate.)

Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help

when are you ppls going to wake up. we don't have rights any more in this country the only right we have left is to shut up and do as we are told. the goverment has taken away all our rights since obama has taken office it is the start of the new world order


when i saw a texas towns cops were harassing newspaper drivers, my first guess was new braunfels...joke of a city, joke of a police force...they are the cops that give texas cops a bad name


Article missed one account that I will set straight-for the record. Council cannot speak to issues brought up during citizens communication due to state laws on open meetings. I will say that I have continued to have dialogue with the CityManager and Attorney and expressed my concerns regarding all of the incidents as well as my personal observations and made it very clear that any violations of the First Amendment would draw the most serious and warranted public admonishment of City Hall to include my own. I am hopeful that any improprieties that may have occurred have now ceased and I will closely monitor the situation. If any new evidence should come to light, I will seek further investigation and action.


I'm all for independent press, but I still don't understand why it's legal for every publisher to throw a bunch of unwanted wasteful trash into my yard. I always wish that I had the publisher's address so that I could dump my garbage on their front porch.

If McGonical was complaining because the police was interfering with their website, I'd have a lot more sympathy.

Now Trending

Houston Concert Tickets

From the Vault