Burns honored for anti-bullying efforts

Fox 4 News is reporting that Fort Worth Mayor Mike Moncrief tonight presented gay Councilman Joel Burns with a special award in honor of his efforts on ending bullying.

Joel Burns

Moncrief said: “I salute Joel’s courage. It takes someone that has a little something extra to be able to share their personal pain in order to benefit others.”

Burns made national headlines last October after video his emotional speech during a Fort Worth City Council meeting about his own experience as a gay teen bullied by schoolmates went viral.

I don’t have any other details about tonight’s award, but I will update this post when I find out more.

—  admin

Jury deadlocked in trial of state trooper accused of slamming woman into concrete wall

UPDATE: Perez was found guilty of misdemeanor assault.

Back in October, John Wright posted this item here on Instant Tea about Texas State Trooper Arturo Perez who faced criminal charges after video taken during a traffic stop for suspected drunk driving surfaced of him slamming 23-year-old Whitney Fox face first into a concrete retaining wall on the Dallas North Tollway after finding out that Fox and her friends in the car with her were on their way home from a gay bar in Oak Lawn.

The Dallas Morning News has reported that jurors hearing the misdemeanor assault case against Perez in Judge Jane Roden’s court are deadlocked and unable to return a verdict. The jurors had been deliberating for about five hours total when, at noon Friday, they send the judge a note saying they were at an impasse.

DMN reports that Judge Roden was expected to tell the jurors to keep deliberating.

The incident in questioned happened in October 2009 after Perez stopped Fox on suspicion of drunk driving. He had cuffed the young woman’s wrists behind her and was patting her down when she began arguing with him about the way he was touching her. Perez told Fox several times as she argued with him that she was “fixing to get yourself hurt.”

Then Perez began leading Fox to his squad car, holding her left arm. When she tried to jerk away from him, Perez  jerked Fox’s arm in return, swinging her around and into the concrete.

Fox — who in the video is visibly stunned by the impact — was left with a large gash in her chin. As she collapsed to the ground, Perez walked away, leaving a second trooper to attend to Fox.

John’s post in October examined allegations  Fox’s attorney, Randy Isenberg, made to Fox 4 News in Dallas that Perez began handling Fox more roughly and slammed her into the wall after another young woman in Fox’s car said something about having left a gay bar in Oak Lawn. The implication, of course, was that Perez is homophobic and deliberately hurt Fox because he thought she is gay.

The incident was captured on video, posted below, by the dashcam in Perez’s squad car.

The Dallas County District Attorney initially charged Perez with official oppression in the case, but a grand jury refused to issue an indictment on the charge. The DA’s office then charged Perez with misdemeanor assault. Perez’s attorney, John Haring, told Fox 4 News this past October that the Texas Ranger had reviewed the video and concluded that Fox was resisting arrest and Perez was not at fault.

Perez retired shortly after the incident occurred, just before the Department of Public Safety could fire him. The DWI charges against Fox were dropped.

—  admin

As the lights fade on ‘Friday Night Lights’ at the Cotton Bowl, Dallas welcomes 3 new TV series

David Taffet, Channel 21 News, Dillon, at the Cotton Bowl

I’ve spent most of the weekend at the Cotton Bowl, where we filmed the season finale of “Friday Night Lights.” But “FNL” fans take heart. The episode we were filming is the last of season five. NBC is just airing season four this summer. So there’s one more year of Panther, I mean Lion, football. (I still haven’t gotten used to cheering for EAST Dillon.)

And while we may have said goodbye to the Lions and Panthers from Dillon, Texas, we’ve also said hello to three new series being filmed in Dallas beginning this summer.

The Good Guys” on Fox is a cop show. They’ve aired six episodes and were picked up for another seven. The Fox 4 news anchor is played by Clarice Tinsley. One of the cops lives in a trailer under a ferris wheel in an amusement park (Fair Park). It airs Mondays at 9 on Fox.

Chase” has been in production all summer for NBC. The Jerry Bruckheimer (“Pirates of the Carribean,” “Amazing Race,” “CSI”)  show “drops viewers smack into the middle of a game of cat-and-mouse as a team of U.S. marshals hunts down America’s most dangerous fugitives.”

According to local actors on the set of “FNL” who’ve already worked on “Chase,” it looks like another winner.

A third show, “Lone Star,” is a Fox January replacement. Jon Voight stars as the head of an oil family that likes football. The original series title was “Midland.” So it’s completely different from “Dallas” or “Friday Night Lights.” This takes place in Midland and Houston. It’s just filmed in Dallas. And “FNL” football is based on Odessa Permean and, again, this is Midland.

Why film in  Dallas? We have the equipment, facilities and talent. And several successful series under our belt.

Dallas” and “Walker Texas Ranger” each had runs of more than 10 years. “Prison Break” filmed two of its four seasons in Dallas and its ratings didn’t drop off significantly until its last Los Angeles-filmed season.

So what about the series finale of “FNL”?

No spoiler alerts here. It was all over the news that “FNL” was up in Dallas filming at the Cotton Bowl, which can only mean one thing. The East Dillon Lions made it to next year’s Texas High School playoffs. Or was it the Dillon Panthers? And being the finale, they won. But maybe not.

The ending was filmed both ways, just in case NBC decides to pick up the show for a sixth season. Ratings have (finally) picked up for season four.

But just because it’s picked up doesn’t mean they don’t win. The Panthers won in season one. We’ll have to wait until next spring (or maybe summer) to find out.

And look for me on the field as usual. I stretch my acting ability on this series playing — a reporter. No really. It’s a stretch. I report news for Dallas Voice. I’ve written arts and travel. But on this series, I’m a sports reporter. Completely different. Really. Nothing like when Clarice Tinsley plays Fox 4 news anchor on “The Good Guys.”

—  David Taffet