The city of San Marcos, Tex., agreed to a $175,000 settlement with passengers on one of President Biden’s campaign buses in 2020, the Associated Press reports. The passengers accused police of ignoring their calls for help after a caravan of Donald Trump supporters surrounded them on a highway. The events took place just before the November election as the bus approached Austin. Video showed trucks with large Trump flags driving close to the bus, which had campaign surrogates and staffers on board. A lawsuit filed by Wendy Davis, who was running for governor, and other passengers accused San Marcos police of ignoring “acts of violent political intimidation” and abdicating their responsibility by not sending an escort despite multiple 911 calls made from the bus. Under the settlement, San Marcos agreed to give officers additional training that includes principles of giving “individuals a voice” and being neutral in decision-making.
“The intimidation we experienced on the highway that day and the threat to our safety, simply for engaging in the political process and supporting the candidate of our choosing, should never happen in this country,” Davis said. San Marcos City Manager Stephanie Reyes said the city continues to deny many of the allegations in the lawsuit. However, she said the response by police that day did not reflect the department’s standards “for conduct and attention to duty.” The lawsuit alleged that city officials and police violated an 1871 federal law often called the “Ku Klux Klan Act,” originally designed to stop political violence against Black people. The law has also been cited in lawsuits following the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.