Sweep Legal? Oh, That's Richie.
On Thursday, Jim Schutze broke the news that the Texas House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence and the General Investigating and Ethics Committee asked the State Bar of Texas to investigate Assistant Dallas City Attorney Jennifer Richie, who's been going after, among others, car wash owner Dale Davenport in South Dallas. As Jim wrote, state Representative Terry Keel, who heads the House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence, has always believed Richie and the Dallas city attorney's office have been bending the state's anti-nuisance laws to attack small business owners who, the city insists, are allowing crimes to be conducted on their properties. Of course, they were doing no such thing; fact is, they just wanted the cops and the city to do their respective jobs, because they're just silly that way. As Jim wrote last week, "Keel and other legislators were alarmed by testimony that Richie may have tried to jam up a Dallas cop's career because he dared to say a certain business wasn't crooked, when Richie was in court trying to make it out to be a den of iniquity."
Well, danged if Richie's name didn't turn up in The Dallas Morning News just two days after Jim mentioned the request for an investigation. On Saturday, Dallas' Only Daily ran a piece about a March 13 raid--there's really no other word for it--at the Bent Creek Apartments in the 9700 block of Forest Lane. According to the piece, some 21 residents living in the complex filed complaints with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development regarding raids that involved police officers banging on doors and searching through bathrooms, kitchens and other living spaces for drugs, most likely. Now, the place does have a bad rep, according to the paper, for drug use and shootings, but all the complaints come from folks who say they did nothing wrong except open the door when the cops started banging on 'em.
But, see, it turns out 21 people are wrong, and only one is right: Jennifer Richie. She told the paper it was nothing more than a routine fire and code inspection. She said cops didn't need warrants because people opened their doors willingly. She says there's no need for HUD to investigate. She's said it all before. And she'll likely get to say it all again when the state bar or the feds come asking the same thing Bent Tree residents and Dale Davenport and others have been asking for years: What's her problem, anyway? --Robert Wilonsky
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