Here are things to know for Wednesday, September 22:
1. Houston Police Union calls for judge’s resignation after man who was given low bond shoots two HPD officers
The president of the Houston Police Officer’s Union is calling for a Harris County judge to step down after allowing a habitual offender, who has since been accused of shooting two Houston police officers, to bond out of jail.
Deon Ledet is accused of killing Sr. Police Officer William “Bill” Jeffrey -- a 30-year veteran of the department. The other officer, Sgt. Michael Vance, was shot several times and is in stable condition. It could take him months to recover.
“He needs to have the integrity to step down,” said HPOU President Doug Griffith. “Until he decides to step up and explain himself, we will continue to come after him. I will actively search for people who will run against him.”
2. Mayor Turner fires housing director who accused him of ‘charade’ bidding process
Mayor Sylvester Turner fired his director of housing and community development Tuesday after he accused the mayor of a “charade” bidding process to funnel city money to a particular developer.
“Unfortunately I’ve reached a point where I can no longer do the bidding of this administration as a relates to this development,” Tom McCasland said during a committee meeting Tuesday morning.
At one point during McCasland’s explosive remarks, there was an audio and video disruption of the city’s public feed of the meeting.
A spokesperson for the mayor said it was the issue was a technical difficulty and not intentional.
3. Former doctor accused of stealing COVID vaccines now suing Harris County
After months of being on the defensive, Dr. Hasan Gokal went on the offensive Tuesday morning.
“Well, I am hoping that we can finally set right some of the wrongs that happened along the way,” said Gokal in an interview with KPRC 2 Investigates.
Gokal is suing his former employer, Harris County and Harris County Public Health.
“Right from the beginning, I was never asked what happened. I was charged. These are unfair things for anyone to go through,” said Gokal.
Gokal’s team filed a 14-page lawsuit where they are seeking monetary relief in excess of one million dollars in response to everything he has endured since January.
4. Houston man pleads guilty to federal charges for fraudulently getting $1.6M in PPP loans
A Houston man has pleaded guilty Monday to federal charges for getting more than $1.6 million in Paycheck Protection Program loans, designed to help struggling small businesses pay their employees and stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lee Price III, 30, submitted two fraudulent PPP loan applications to two different lenders on the behalf of entities 713 Construction LLC and Price Enterprises Holdings LLC, according to court documents. The loan application for 713 Construction LLC was submitted under the name of a person who died shortly before the application was submitted, according to court documents.
Price received over $1.6 million in PPP loans from the combination of the two loan applications, according to court documents. He falsely represented the number of employees and payroll expenses in each of the PPP loan applications, according to prosecutors. Price also submitted fraudulent tax records and other materials, prosecutors said.
5. Texas’ ban on school mask mandates draws federal investigation for possibly violating the rights of students with disabilities
The federal government is investigating the Texas Education Agency after deeming that its guidance prohibiting mask mandates in schools last week may be “preventing school districts in the state from considering or meeting the needs of students with disabilities.”
The U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights launched the investigation on Tuesday, just days after the TEA quietly updated its public health guidance. On Friday, the state agency said that school districts once again can’t require face coverings, citing that courts are not blocking Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order prohibiting local mask mandates.
The agency did not immediately respond to request for comment or say how or if it will enforce the order or if every school district in the state has been notified of this change.