Crime

Apparently, the TABC Doesn't Really Believe in Punishing. More Like, a Stern Talking-To.

Much thanks to the many Friends of Unfair Park who've sent along the Associated Press's EXCLUSIVE! report concerning the degree to which the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission investigates, um, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission. Because, sure, it's one thing to discipline a few agents in a highly publicized raid-gone-wrong. But how 'bout when no one's looking?

An Associated Press review of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission's internal affairs logs found that all but 39 of the 234 allegations of excessive force or unprofessional conduct lodged against agents since 2004 have been closed without disciplinary action. Moreover, in nearly every excessive force case reviewed by the AP, the accused agents' bosses were the ones who conducted the investigations.

The allegations ranged from officers improperly tackling, punching and using pepper spray on people. The agency has long had a reputation for heavy-handedness and garnered national attention in 2006 when state legislators forced it to cancel a program that aggressively sought to curb public drunkenness through stings that arrested people -- even some bartenders -- in bars.

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky