Courts

Conservative Journalist Sues Beto O'Rourke Campaign, City of Dallas and DPD Officer Over Assault Claims

Beto O'Rourke hopes to become Texas' next governor.
Beto O'Rourke hopes to become Texas' next governor. Melissa Hennings
On top of trying to win the governor’s mansion, Democrat Beto O’Rourke has a fresh lawsuit on his hands.

Last month, a conservative journalist with Glenn Beck's BlazeTV filed a lawsuit against O’Rourke's campaign over claims that she was assaulted during a March meet-and-greet at a Dallas church. In addition to Beto for Texas, the suit names three other defendants: the city of Dallas, an O’Rourke employee and a police officer who provided event security.

The journalist, Sara Gonzales, filed a police report following the event, The Blaze reported at the time. She claimed that a Dallas officer “manhandled” her and that she was “attacked” by O’Rourke staffer Cynthia Cano.

Gonzales hosts the show The News & Why It Matters and is a harsh critic of O’Rourke. Her lawsuit alleges that his campaign has a policy to “prevent at any cost the production of videos that cast O’Rourke in a negative light.”

At the meet-and-greet, Gonzales had hoped to film an exchange between O’Rourke and a conservative YouTuber. The suit claims that Cano suddenly stepped in, grabbing Gonzales’ hand and attempting to pry her phone away.

Gonzales repeated “don’t touch my phone,” the suit continues. From there, the Dallas police officer allegedly “shoved Gonzales down the stairs/ramp” that led away from the stage where O’Rourke stood. She says that’s when she first realized that the person who allegedly pushed her was an officer.

“Upon learning this, Gonzales became more frightened,” the suit states. “Prior to learning that the person who grabbed and pushed her was a police officer, Gonzales intended to call the police for help, but seeing that the person was a police officer, Gonzales felt she had nowhere to turn for help.”

Gonzales asked the officer for her badge number, and she provided it before walking away, the lawsuit states. Then, another officer appeared and the conservative journalist asked why his colleague had “put her hands” on her “so hard.”

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Gonzales alleges that the first officer hadn’t asked her to leave before getting physical and that attendees weren't told to refrain from filming. The suit notes that at the meet-and-greet, many others had their phones out to record, and that O'Rourke's speech was also livestreamed.

In addition to her assault claims, Gonzales alleges that her constitutional rights were violated.

A Dallas police spokesperson said the department doesn’t comment on pending litigation, and a representative for the city declined to respond to Gonzales' allegations. An email request sent to O'Rourke's team was unreturned by publication time.

Texas Scorecard claimed in April that Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot refused to hand over records related to the officer in question. Gonzales had requested body camera footage, which the department reportedly said it didn’t have, and she also filed an officer complaint.

Speaking with the Observer, Gonzales’ attorney, Jonathan Gross, said the incident is part of a broader pattern where conservative reporters are subjected to physical aggression while holding politicians’ feet to the fire.

“[Gonzales] feels that right now, conservative journalists like herself are fair game, and there's no accountability,” he said.

Former President Donald Trump was known for deriding the media, with experts warning that his rhetoric could (and did) spark attacks against journalists. He was slammed by press freedom groups for “glorifying violence against reporters” during a 2020 rally, Insider reported at the time.
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Simone Carter, a staff news reporter at the Dallas Observer, graduated from the University of North Texas' Mayborn School of Journalism. Her favorite color is red, but she digs Miles Davis' Kind of Blue.
Contact: Simone Carter