Shawn of the Dead
Online readers respond to "Dead Center," by Craig Malisow, February 3:
Remembering Tara: Tara Sganga was a dear friend of mine who I will miss terribly — to know what a sweet, loving person she is and how Shawn Roberts sucked that out of her is sickening. Tara was funny, very loyal and, like all of us, she had her insecurities, but she also had her strengths. She was very responsible and determined; if she, her sister, her baby brother or one of her nieces or nephews wanted something, Tara would work to make sure they got it.
She cared for others and, again like all of us, she wanted unconditional love in return. No matter how much we all disliked Shawn, Tara believed in him, and I am sure somewhere in her she needed him to be better and love her like she loved and cared for him. She didn't deserve anything like this, and I can't bear to think of her last moments as they were without someone who really loved her close to her telling her she was going to be okay. She hated to be alone, and I can't stand to think of what she went through.
But to add misery to it all by having a bunch of bumbling idiots calling themselves law enforcement allowing so much to go uninvestigated or even cared for is just nauseating. Tara deserved to have someone fight for her. Public officials have badly dropped the ball and allowed all of this to go on for way too long!
I hope Shawn is at least going crazy inside that worthless little head of his; I hope the images of Tara haunt him and keep him awake at night.
Online readers respond to "Ryan MS Principal Says He Is Not Racist or Sexist or Anti-Gay No Matter What HISD Says," Hair Balls blog, by Margaret Downing, February 4:
This is a load of BS: Michael McKenzie is a liar who believes that he can do whatever he wants. I guess he can, because he still has a job. Many do not understand why nothing is being done. There should be an investigation into how the school is currently operating. It is a zoo with very little learning taking place. McKenzie has turned it into his own playground. Shame on HISD for letting him stay in place. He is better than the former principal? I think not.
A shame: This is Terry Grier's answer to "failing schools"? This guy is exactly what the HISD board deserves. It is a damn shame that students must pay the price for these unforgivable politics. The former principal never should have been dismissed. This principal is talking about all that he has done...What!? He hasn't even been there a semester. The scores he is speaking of came from the former principal and year of instruction!
The true victims: In typical Michael McKenzie fashion, he lies and twists the truth to try to cover his racist and sexist views. And he paints himself as a victim in every situation. The true victims here are the students who finally had a school and staff they trusted and who believed in them, which was then taken away by a poorly thought-out Apollo 20 program. The true victims here are the educators who, through hard work and sacrifice, brought Ryan Middle School from a state label of "unacceptable" to reaching four-tenths of a point from "commended" in a two-year period of time. These are the same educators who were told by McKenzie that they had lost their positions because "they couldn't relate to the community." HISD needs to act swiftly to protect the students, parents and educators who are still suffering under the delusional leadership of Michael McKenzie.
Caught on Camera
Online readers comment on "That Long-Awaited HPD Beating Video Is Out," Hair Balls blog, by Richard Connelly, February 3:
Boo-hoo: I think all crooks should get a proper beat-down. Are we supposed to feel sorry for a convicted thug?
Kick after kick: A 15-year-old, first-offending, nonviolent petty thief gets violently beaten by a gang of police thugs and you think that's cool? You can see guns pointed at the unarmed boy before they all rush in kicking and stomping their police-issue boots into his head and body. They hold him down and take their sweet time delivering kick after kick to the adolescent. I even see a man in a pale blue shirt and jeans walk into the scene, prod him a few times with his foot before repeatedly pointing back towards the camera. I wonder who he is. Fuck tha police.
Eazy Muthaphukkin E
This isn't the Middle Ages: You don't beat the shit out of an adolescent who only stole something. After avoiding being run over by that fuck of a police officer, the boy gave up, put his hands over his head and got on his stomach, surrendering himself. Yet he was brutally mauled on. I bet if the child was white, this situation would have never happened.
This isn't about race: It's about police-chase adrenaline. When I was a news photographer, I saw other men (cough...white guys) get whooped on or shot after a police chase. When cops are driving 100 miles per hour, risking their lives to get you, they get way jacked up. It ain't gonna be good when they catch you, no matter what beautiful skin God made you.
That is a disgrace: All those "peace officers" beating and kicking a subdued, handcuffed kid. It is an embarrassment to the city of Houston. Those officers should be disciplined and/or fired.
Bullies: The video is sickening and further proves the deep level of corruption within the Houston Police Department. Was this an isolated incident? My guess is that there are many more like this within the department than those who choose to conduct themselves professionally. Wanna know what happens to playground bullies? They grow up, pin on a badge and become bullies in blue.
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A Correction and a Clarification
Our February 3 feature ["Dead Center," Craig Malisow] stated that Shawn Roberts described himself as a protégé of attorney Racehorse Haynes. To clarify: While Roberts did give people this impression, the two attorneys had no professional or personal relationship.
The same feature incorrectly stated that Sandra Roberts divorced her husband in 1969. That was the year Roberts was married; the couple divorced in 1992.
The Press regrets the error.