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Multi Billion Dollar Bond Issue To Fund Transit Will Be On Ballot, Mental Exam Sought For Accused Santa Fe Shooter, And Fallout Continues Over Arrest Of Galveston Man

These are some of the stories Houston Public Media is covering.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Top afternoon stories:

Gail Delaughter/Houston Public Media
A METROLift bus makes a stop at the Downtown Transit Center.

Multi Billion Dollar Bond Issue To Fund Transit Will Be On Ballot

Harris County voters will soon be asked to approve a $3.5 billion bond issue to pay for a long list of projects designed to address a growing population, including light rail expansion, bus rapid transit and infrastructure improvements. The bond issue will be on the ballot for the November 5th election and county officials say the initiative will not require any new taxes.

As part of its METRONext initiative, Houston's transit agency wants to build about 75 miles of bus rapid transit routes, including a corridor to Bush Intercontinental Airport.

Plans also call for about 16 miles of new light rail. There would be a line to Hobby Airport along with an extension of the Red Line to the North Shepherd Park and Ride.

METRO Chairman Carrin Patman said the bond issue will list all the projects they hope to accomplish.

Jennifer Reynolds/The Galveston County Daily News via AP, Pool
Dimitrios Pagourtzis.

Mental Exam Sought For Accused Santa Fe High School Shooter

Attorneys representing Dimitrios Pagourtzis, the teenager charged for last year's shooting at Santa Fe High School, are seeking a mental evaluation and saying their client can't understand the legal proceedings against him.

Pagourtzis is charged with capital murder for the May 2018 attack at Santa Fe High School that left 10 people dead and wounded more than a dozen others. The 18-year-old is currently awaiting trial, which a judge has moved to another county because of intense publicity surrounding the case.

According to the Galveston County Daily News , Pagourtzis' attorneys argued in a court filing Monday that the teenager's mental state "has degraded to the point where there is no understanding of the matter and the proceedings."

The Galveston County District Attorney's Office declined to comment Monday on the motion.

On August 3, 2019, two Galveston Police officers led Donald Neely by rope after arresting him for alleged trespassing.

Fallout Continues Over Arrest Of Galveston Man Who Was Led By Rope

Fallout continues over the controversial arrest, in which mounted police officers led a Galveston man by rope down the street. The family of suspect Donald Neely is seeking the release of police body-camera footage. Galveston officials have also asked the Texas Rangers to investigate the incident.

The arrest prompted Galveston Police Chief Vernon Hale to say in a statement the officers used "poor judgment" while arresting Neely, 43, who is African American. Hale also announced he's ending the practice within the police department. Neely was arrested on suspicion of criminal trespassing.

Neely's family is working with high-profile civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, who represented Trayvon Martin's family in Florida and Michael Brown's family in Ferguson, Missouri. They've filed a public records request asking Galveston police to release body-cam footage of the arrest.

The Galveston County Sheriff's Office and the Texas Rangers will look into the incident, in response to a request for a third-party investigation fsanta ferom the City of Galveston.

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