There is no greater thorn in the side of Harris County Republicans than County Judge Lina Hidalgo. Since her ascension to the highest executive office in the county, she has repeatedly butted heads with Texas’ top Republicans over everything from COVID restrictions to bail reform, often becoming a liberal media darling in the process. Conservative media is now striking back with a slick video accusing Hidalgo of showboating at the funeral of a fallen constable deputy.
Harris County Pct. 5 Corporal Charles Galloway was laid to rest last Tuesday following services at the Second Baptist Church West Campus. He had been shot during a routine traffic stop off Beechnut on January 23 and died at the scene. The funeral included a 21-gun salute, riderless horse, and visits from high level government officials. These included Hidalgo, Harris County Constable Pct. 5 Ted Heap, and Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, who was to present a flag to the family.
Sgt. Roy Guinn has since accused Hidalgo of using the funeral to make the event a publicity stunt for herself. His claim is bolstered by a slickly produced video, apparently in conjunction with the conservative Michael Berry Show, narrated by Guinn. He says that Hidalgo refused to move to the dignitaries’ tent when asked and insisted on standing in the front with Heap and Patrick, who were not asked to be seated. Guinn also claims that Hidalgo was “self-centered, arrogant, and focused on her personal desires.”
However, a Harris County official told the Houston Chronicle that it was Patrick who was disrespectful during the funeral, adding that Patrick told Hidalgo to “sit down and shut up” two or three times at the funeral.
Judge Hidalgo responded to the criticism in an official statement through her spokesperson, Rafael Lemaitre: “Out of respect for the family and for the civility our community deserves, Judge Hidalgo will not engage the same type of smear campaigns and cruel political games Dan Patrick—or anyone else—are hoping to engage her in.
“Furthermore, as this video so clearly shows, women—and particularly women of color—in workplaces across America are still living in a time where many still find it appropriate to tell them to ‘stay in their place,’ regardless of their duty or responsibilities,” Lemaitre added. “That’s just not something Judge Hidalgo has ever acquiesced to.”
In the video, Hidalgo appears to merely be standing with the rest of the county law enforcement leadership, aside from a brief moment when she kneels to talk to Galloway’s family. Guinn can be seen coming up to her before the ceremony starts and having her move to one side. Despite the video’s claims that Hidalgo was being asked to get out of the way of the approaching honor guard, she is clearly no more in the way than Guinn or Heap.
Former Houston Mayor Annise Parker came to Hidalgo’s defense on Twitter.
“As the highest ranking Harris County official at the funeral of a slain Harris County public safety officer, Judge Hidalgo is expected — by long standing protocol — to be at the front of the ceremony as the representative of the county he served,” she said.
Also active on Twitter is Patrick, who declared the video “100 percent accurate.” He, like Guinn and the Michael Berry Show, seem eager to paint Hidalgo as a spotlight stealing politician who used the death of one of her officers for political gain.
However, it’s worth asking how political the event was always meant to be. The video was produced very quickly and professionally in cooperation with a very popular conservative media outlet within twenty-four hours of the funeral. Patrick’s inclusion as main participant in the funeral has many political overtones as well. He has spent years now painting Texas cities as hotbeds of crime that Democrats do nothing to prevent, and immediately used Galloway’s death to push the narrative that police are increasingly targeted for violence. Considering that Hidalgo does not actually appear to be obstructing any part of the funeral, it’s very possible that annoyance at her presence has more to do with her ruining a conservative photo opportunity than actual bad decorum on her part.