City News Roundup

Amber Guyger trial and city budget top this round of Dallas news

Amber Guyger trial and city budget top this round of Dallas news

Dallas City Hall
Dallas City Hall. Courtesy photo

Amber Guyger will go on trial, the city approved its budget, and there's a big freeway shutdown overnight.

Here's what happened in Dallas city news this week:

City budget
The Dallas City Council gave its unanimous approval to the 2019-2020 city budget, which it has been reviewing since June. The budget is set at $3.8 billion, with about 60 percent dedicated to funding public safety. The fiscal year begins on October 1.

The budget includes a three-year agreement that raises salaries for first responders to a market-based pay structure. It also pumps $162 million into the Dallas Police and Fire Pension System — $5.2 million more than last year, according to a release from City Hall.

Guyger trial
The trial of fired Dallas Police Officer Amber Guyger will proceed in Dallas, despite attorneys' requests to move it out of the city and appeals from a police association to delay the trial.

Judge Tammy Kemp denied a change of venue request on September 16. Dallas Police Association President Mike Mata said that the trial should be put on hold until after the State Fair of Texas, contending there could be protests during the trial, and police would be stretched thin while working the fair.

Guyger is charged with the 2018 murder of Botham Jean, whom she claims to have mistaken for an intruder when she entered the wrong apartment.

Her lawyers argued that prejudicial media coverage and the actions of public officials have made it too difficult to find an impartial jury.

The murder trial is set to begin September 23.

Methodist on hold
A state judge has nixed plans for Methodist Dallas Center to build a new fitness center after a neighbor sued the hospital.

A lawsuit was filed by Katherine Homan, a neighbor of the hospital in East Kessler, who filed shortly after the Dallas City Council approved a zoning change that would have chopped down a pecan grove that serves as a buffer between the hospital and a residential neighborhood.

Fake tickets
A Dallas police officer pleaded guilty to writing fake tickets in order to boost overtime pay.

Matthew Alan Rushing, 35, issued fraudulent tickets, mainly in South Dallas, according to court records. Some of the individuals paid the tickets anyway. Others had arrest warrants related to the phony tickets issued.

Rushing sought to increase his overtime pay through a traffic grant program awarded to the city in 2018 to pay for increased traffic enforcement. Police conducted an internal investigation, which resulted in 10 counts of tampering with government records, a state jail felony. Rushing faces up to five years in prison for the federal offense.

Freeway shutdown
All lanes of north- and southbound I-35E at Beckley Avenue will be closed from 9 pm on Friday, September 20, through 2 pm on Saturday, September 21.

During this closure, the Beckley Avenue bridge and the 12th Street bridge will be closed for work on the Zang Boulevard bridge.

Northbound I-35E traffic will take the Beckley Avenue exit and continue on the temporary northbound frontage road to the temporary I-35E entrance ramp. Southbound I-35E traffic will take the 12th Street exit and continue on the temporary southbound frontage road to the temporary I-35E entrance ramp.