‘Trump Train’ lawsuit finally settled

San Marcos city agreed to pay $175k to former Biden campaign staff

Shweta Sharma
Thursday 19 October 2023 06:25 BST
Trump Jr tells supporters 'give Kamala Harris a nice Trump Train welcome'

A 2021 lawsuit involving a “Trump Train” of motorists swarming a Biden campaign bus during the 2020 elections has been settled by the San Marcos city of Texas.

The lawsuit was filed against the City of San Marcos over the handling of the incident which the complainants said was harassment, intimidation, and heckling of Biden-Harris campaign supporters.

Campaign staff, volunteers, and former state senator Wendy Davis filed a lawsuit in 2021 against the city for not providing assistance or a police escort when their bus became encircled by a pro-Trump caravan on Interstate 35.

The legal action contended that, during the highway encounter, San Marcos Police Department personnel responded with laughter and jest when asked for assistance.

On Wednesday, the city officials agreed to pay $175,000 to four individuals on the bus, including Ms Davis, who was running for Congress at the time, former Biden campaign staffer David Gins, campaign volunteer Eric Cervini, and bus driver Timothy Holloway.

According to the terms of the lawsuit, all employees of the San Marcos Police Department will attend training that will “remind members of their obligation and role in developing and fortifying community trust and respect in local law enforcement”.

The settlement of the lawsuit came following a closed-door meeting between the parties and the city is required to issue a public statement within three days.

"While the City of San Marcos continues to deny many of the allegations in the lawsuit, the City of San Marcos Police Department’s response did not reflect the Department’s high standards for conduct and attention to duty," a statement on behalf of city manager Stephanie Reyes said

In the incident which happened just four days before the 2020 elections and garnered national and international headlines, a pack of motorists known as “Trump Train” encircled the Biden-Harris campaign bus on Interstate 35 between San Antonio and Austin.

Kamala Harris would have been on the bus if it hadn’t been for a last-minute schedule change, Ms Davis had said.

The incident was captured on cameras and led to Democrats cancelling three scheduled campaign events in Texas. Later, Mr Trump responded by praising his supporters’ behaviour and the pro-Trump volunteers continued to follow the Biden-Harris campaign group throughout the Texas campaign.

Video footage from the incident showed a Biden campaign bus being surrounded by a “Trump train” of vehicles that were brandishing flags and other memorabilia related to Mr Trump and his “Make America Great Again” slogan.

The filing in the court included transcripts of the calls made to 911, showing the police department got multiple emergency calls from the campaigners who feared for their safety from “Trump Train”.

The filing also stated that law enforcement officers “privately laughed” and “joked about the victims and their distress”.

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