The gruesome murder of James Byrd Jr. in the tiny East Texas town of Jasper in 1998 forced Texas and the nation to reckon with race-motivated crimes at the turn of the century. Since then, Byrd's legacy has been cemented in law, but, according to family and observers, largely forgotten. In three stories marking the 25th anniversary of Bryd's death, The Texas Tribune has reported on his legacy, how race is impacting the city's leaders today, and how state police departments are ill-equipped to track hate crimes today.
A Texas Tribune analysis of hate crime data found that 82% of Texas law enforcement agencies that report to the FBI tracked no hate crimes last year. However, one suburban North Texas police agency is creating a new model of collecting hate crime data. Full Story
Jasper’s second Black mayor wants to help residents pay their bills while a younger city council wants to invest in the city’s culture. Residents call their heated arguments at city council meetings “foolishness” and “embarrassing.” Full Story