Judge Bars Donation To Texas Department Alleging Political Stunt

Judge Eddie Trevino of the Commissioners Court of Cameron County refused to allow a $15,000 donation to a Brownsville, Texas police department on September 12. The donation was arranged through the nonprofit organizations We Fund the Blue and Great American Cleanup. The groups had contacted Constable Norman Esquivel of Precinct 1 to aid in a volunteer clean-up effort along the Rio Grande River on September 11. The donation is meant to provide resources for local law enforcement and aid to the Brownsville community.

Esquivel arranged around 100 officers and volunteers to clean up trash left behind by illegal immigrants who had crossed into the U.S. The cleanup took place over two days in September and the organizations had raised the funds through donations. Before the funds can be formally accepted, Esquivel was required to present the case for why the department earned the donation to the County Commissioners.

Trevino called into question why the local law enforcement agency was selected by Great American Cleanup and demanded to know whether other Democrat constables had been included in the request. Esquivel told the court that, in fact, two other agencies had received donations that are run by Democrats and explained the nature of the clean-up task. Trevino determined that the clean-up was not an effort by local officers to improve the community, but rather, was a politically motivated sham meant to discredit the Biden administration.

Trevino claimed that a flier specifically placed blame for the trash on the Biden administration. The flier in question claims “the U.S. government has failed us,” but does not call out any agency or branch specifically. Rather, the flier calls on residents to step up and participate in handling the mess.

Trevino stated that he believed the lack of assistance from other constables in the region indicated that Esquivel shut them out in order to get all the donations for his department and to highlight issues on the border by making a political statement that the agency is underfunded.

Esquivel claims that he called other precincts by telephone and invited them to participate, but none showed up at the event. Organizers of the event state that Esquivel had contacted local, state, and federal agencies that provide enforcement along the border prior to the event, both for permission and to invite participation.

Three previous clean-up efforts have not encountered difficulty accepting the donation. Two of those clean-ups were in southern Texas border towns with Democrat Sheriffs. Despite the need for the donation and the efforts of local officers to improve the community, Trevino continuously pressed Esquivel about the political motivation behind the effort. The court tabled the discussion until a later date which effectively bars the group from cashing the donation.

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