Five stories that have North Texas talking: the Bushes and Clintons are attending inauguration; Amon Carter receives its largest endowment ever; get to know Willie Nelson’s guitar; and more.
The teenage girl who was wrestled and pinned to the ground by a former McKinney police officer at a rowdy pool party in June 2015 has filed a lawsuit against him, the police department and the city for $5 million in damages. In a complaint filed last month, Dajerria Becton and her legal guardian “allege that former Officer Eric Casebolt violated the girl's constitutional rights by using excessive force and holding her without probable cause. The family also claims that the city and the police department are to blame for her injuries for not training officers adequately,” The Dallas Morning News reports. The city denies her allegations and will “vigorously defend the recently filed lawsuit.”
Video of the infamous encounter between Casebolt, who is white, and the then 15-year-old Becton, who is black, brought national attention to McKinney and Craig Ranch, the neighborhood where it happened. In June 2016, Becton’s attorney asked the City of McKinney for $2.5 million to avoid a lawsuit, but the city didn’t take the deal, according to The Dallas Morning News. Later that month, a Collin County grand jury declined to indict Casebolt, who resigned four days after the party. Read all of KERA News’ coverage here. [The Dallas Morning News, KERA News]
- George W. Bush and Laura Bush will attend President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration. The former president never endorsed Trump nor did he vote for him in November. Bush’s office said he left the presidential line blank and voted for Republicans farther down the ballot. The Texas Tribune reports: “Once Trump won, however, the Bushes were quick to mend fences, separately calling the president-elect to congratulate him and wish him success.” Another former president and first lady attending? Bill and Hillary Clinton. [The Texas Tribune]
- The Walton Family Foundation gave an “unprecedented” $20 million to the Amon Carter Museum of American Art. The Fort Worth museum will receive the money over five years, according to a press release. The gift honors the museum board’s longtime president Ruth Carter Stevenson, who died in 2013. Alice Walton, daughter of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton, was on the museum’s board from 2004 to 2015. She is on the board of the Walton Family Foundation. Walton and Stevenson were "great friends" and "visionaries both,” said Karen Hixon, museum board president and Stevenson’s daughter. The money will go toward exhibitions and educational programs. [Art&Seek]
- Gexa Energy Pavilion is starting a new year with its old name, the Starplex. The live music venue in Fair Park has changed its name several times since opening in 1988 as the Coca-Cola Starplex Amphitheatre. In its almost 30 years, the Starplex has also been called Smirnoff Music Centre, Superpages.com Center and of course, Gexa Energy Pavilion, its name since 2011. GuideLive reports: “Starplex is currently in the midst of a City Council-approved $8-million makeover intended to update the facility that hasn't been touched since, well, it was Starplex.” Live Nation offered no further context for the name change. [GuideLive]
- Did you know Willie Nelson has a guitar named “Trigger” that travels with its own bodyguard? Trigger, an iconic Martin N-20 named for singer and actor Roy Rogers’ horse, “is tattooed with signatures of Nelson’s famous friends and it bears the battle scars of nearly 50 years on the road. Beside the usual sound hole, there’s a gaping crater worn right through the top of the guitar, as if someone slung a hammer into it. The Brazilian rosewood top is worn through by Nelson’s playing,” according to Texas Standard. Meet the Austin man who takes care of Trigger when it needs repair. By the way, Nelson’s playing his second of two shows in Dallas tonight. [Texas Standard]