TABC sting at Northgate bar

26,710 Views | 144 Replies | Last: 2 mo ago by Brian Alg
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TABC opened up a big hole in all the convictions obtained under the previous policy.
Brian Alg
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***09/20/2019 Edit: TABC had a mix up and sent me a draft of their policy that was not actually in effect. They informed me that the finalized policy does not have the imperative "shall" and instead says "may." I am going to leave this up. But please be aware that even without supervisor authorization, the team's decision to not record likely did not violate TABC policy.***

Speaking of that TABC policy, I finally got responses to open records requests that the Texas AG's office told TABC to hand over to me on June 3.

They gave me a redacted copy of the Minor Sting policy and procedures document effective January 15, 2010 and that is apparently still effective. I asked for the procedures in effect in September 2016 and the current ones. It looks like same document was given for both requests.

Section 3.6.a:

"The lead agent obtains undercover funds to be used for the minor's purchase(s) and ensures that all necessary equipment is available for the operation. Video and/or audio recording equipment shall be used unless authorized otherwise by a supervisor. The minor will state his or her name and age, the date, the location about to be entered, and that an attempt will be made to purchase an alcoholic beverage."

It seems to me either there is a recording and for some reason it was not given to me in response to my previous ORRs, or the supervisor gave authorization to not record (why? is this common?), or the agent and the rest of the sting team were violating procedures.
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FOIA requests are notoriously difficult to word precisely. Any slight variation may lead to you not getting something the average person would expect to be reasonably understood from the request.
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I'm hoping the media puts them on the spot about whether there was a recording or they authorized them to not record for some reason. This smells fishy either way
Brian Alg
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There was a mix-up at the TABC with the procedure I was given. I just spoke to the ORR office there and the document they gave me was a draft, not the one that was actually put into effect. They are going through the process of redacting the actual procedures, but over the phone I was told that what was actually in effect had the language changed to indicate that the team may use recording equipment, but it removed the imperative part of the whole thing (which I made a lot of hay about). I feel bad for any unnecessary hackle raising because I spread that information.

I did get a response that I was not expecting to the following request (I thought it was being blocked):

"The report or other records from the internal review of Agent Jergins' actions during the undercover operation at Rebel Drafthouse in September 2016, Inspection ID 2552001. Including records related to who conducted the internal review, what their instructions were, the justification for the determination that Agent Jergins' providing alcohol to a 17 year old did not constitute wrongdoing."

They gave me a bunch of docs including the field activity plan from the night of the sting, two different Complete/Completed Case File Production documents that are 130 and 211 pages (I suspect there is a lot of overlap between them), and a ~30 minute interview between Agent Jergins and a TABC Internal Affairs guy that was done on December 17, 2018.

I am excited to go through these and see what I find out.
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