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Wednesday, July 17, 2024 | Back issues
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Texas School Accused Of Arresting Teacher Union Boss On Bogus Rap

HOUSTON (CN) - Welcome to Texas. Aldine Independent School District and its Superintendent Wanda Bamberg arrested the president of the Aldine American Federation of Teachers, Local 6345 on bogus charges to prevent her from inviting new teachers to join the union, the AFT local claims in Federal Court.

The Aldine district does not allow any union activity on its property, even at teacher orientations or similar events, so the AFT set up a table on public property near the school this August, to hand out information to teachers. Local president, plaintiff Carmen Mayorga, claims school district police "harassed and tried to intimidate the Aldine AFT representatives in their efforts to inform teachers about the union's activities." School district police blocked parking lots and prevented a union rep from handing out leaflets, and assaulted him, claiming he was "blocking traffic," the complaint states.

Mayorga says that when defendant Aldine police officer Julio Tobias threatened to arrest a union rep, and she tried to defuse the situation, Tobias assaulted her - Mayorga - and handcuffed her. She says he held her for three hours at the cop shop, then imprisoned her overnight at the Harris County Jail on the bogus charge of "filing to identify herself to a police officer."

Mayorga claims Tobias also impounded her van and stole from it a videotape on which she had filmed his encounter with a union rep.

She claims Aldine fired Tobias and another officer two weeks later "for tampering with evidence, specifically, the videotape that they obtained during the course of arresting plaintiff Mayorga."

She claims the district and its superintendent "established as institutionalized practice and ratified (this) conduct," which was intentional and malicious.

She demands a protective injunction and punitive damages for constitutional violations, retaliation, false arrest, malicious prosecution and excessive force. She is represented by Martha Owen with Deats Durst Owen & Levy of Austin. See complaint.

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