San Marcos “denies the allegations” made in the “Trump Train” lawsuit

Sierra Martin | Managing Editor

SAN MARCOS – On Tuesday, Nov. 2, San Marcos City Manager Bert Lumbreras published a public statement regarding the pending lawsuit against the city and several city officials due to the “Trump Train” incident on Interstate 35 late Oct. 2020. 

Over the weekend, an amended lawsuit included transcribed 911 audio recordings and documents revealing behind-the-scenes communications among law enforcement and dispatchers.

In the statement, Lumbreras says that, “the City denies the allegations contained within the lawsuit.” And that San Marcos Chief of Police Stan Standridge is addressing the “insensitive comments” made between employees with “normal disciplinary action.” 

Over the weekend an updated story related to a pending lawsuit against the City and multiple City officials regarding an incident in late October 2020 was released. The City denies the allegations contained within the lawsuit. Because of the pending litigation, we cannot comment publicly and must wait for our account to be heard in court. In the process of preparing documents to turn over to the plaintiffs in this case as part of the discovery process in late October 2021, we have learned of some insensitive comments made between employees. These are not in keeping with the values of our organization, so San Marcos Police Chief Stan Standridge is addressing those comments according to normal disciplinary procedures.

In the final days of the 2020 presidential election, a Biden campaign bus was traveling down I-35 in San Marcos when around 40 Trump supporters surrounded the bus and nearly ran it off the road several times. The “Trump Train” ultimately resulted in at least one minor accident and made national news. 

As stated in the lawsuit, without police to intervene, “some Trump Train drivers surrounded the bus on all sides while driving through San Marcos, playing a madcap game of highway’ chicken,’ coming within three to four inches of the bus. Some Trump Train drivers forced the bus to go dangerously slow, often by abruptly braking in front of the bus and forcing the bus to take evasive measures to avoid collision.”

According to the transcribed audio recordings, San Marcos law enforcement officers “privately laughed” and “joked about the victims and their distress.” While also refusing to provide police escort to the campaign bus and its distressed occupants.

The transcribed recordings were filed in the amended lawsuit to show that San Marcos law enforcement leaders chose not to provide the bus with a police escort multiple times, even when contacted for help by campaign staffers on the bus and other drivers on the interstate concerned with the reckless driving. Other nearby police departments such as New Braunfels and Kyle provided a police escort through their jurisdiction.

Because of the incident, two lawsuits have been filed. The first lawsuit is against the Trump-supporting drivers, referred to as the “Trump Train.” The second lawsuit is towards the San Marcos Director of Public Safety Chase Stapp, law enforcement officials from the San Marcos Police Department and the San Marcos City Marshal’s Department for failing “to take reasonable steps to prevent planned acts of violent political intimidation,” as stated in the lawsuit.

The plaintiffs claim that the defendants’ actions violated the Ku Klux Klan Act, a law created to protect civil and political rights. The plaintiffs argue that the “Trump Train” intended to intimidate the Biden Campaign and its supporters. Following the incident on I-35, the final events of the Biden campaign’s “Battle for the Soul of the Nation” tour were canceled due to safety concerns.

The new complaint expands on the number of people and entities being sued to include San Marcos assistant police chief Brandon Winkenwerder, San Marcos police corporal Matthew Daenzer, and the city itself. According to the lawsuit, thee plaintiffs are asking for compensatory and punitive damages and for legal fees.

More information regarding the ongoing lawsuit against the City of San Marcos and city officials can be found in the article, 911 transcripts filed in updated “Trump Train” lawsuit reveal San Marcos police refused to send escort to Biden bus.

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This is an ongoing story, the San Marcos Corridor News will provide updates as developments are made. 

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