DPS questioned over claim of urine, feces-filled bottles at Capitol



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Posted on July 16, 2013 at 6:46 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jul 17 at 7:38 AM

AUSTIN -- Last Friday the Department of Public Safety issued a news release saying state troopers discovered "suspected" jars of feces and urine carried by protesters at the State Capitol. It all happened as the Senate was preparing to vote on the controversial abortion bill.

That media release read, "After receiving information that individuals planned to use a variety of items or props to disrupt legislative proceedings, DPS recommended all bags be inspected prior to entering the Senate gallery."

This same release said DPS officers discovered one jar suspected to contain urine, 18 jars suspected to contain feces, and three bottles suspected to contain paint.

However, questions arose concerning the validity of that statement.

"As far as we're aware, this is not anything that has been proven anywhere," said Kandace Valleja with Rise Up Texas. She says specifics need to be released. "Right now we are filing an information request with DPS. Our legal team is working on that information request."

State Representative Donna Howard (D) from Austin, is also asking for clarification of the DPS statement. In a letter to DPS, she asks for answers to eight specific questions.

Howard's first question; did visitors attempt to bring urine or feces into the Senate gallery?

In response, DPS Director Stephen McCraw sent Howard a letter. A copy was sent to KVUE. He backs every claim made in the media release and says yes, there were attempts to bring feces and urine.

As for the question of it being documented, McCraw writes that the "suspicious jars, cans and other items were not confiscated. A visitor had the option of storing the items elsewhere or discarding them in trash boxes."

In her letter to DPS, Howard also compliments the department's work over the past few weeks, including how officers handled situations with professionalism and respect, with few arrests and no major incidents.

Valleja feels differently.

"We saw someone being handled very roughly," she said.

McCraw added in his letter to Representative Howard, "Unfortunately, there were some, albeit a very small number, who came to our Capitol to engage in criminal activity, and our goal was to prevent them from doing so."

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