Tell the City of Brownsville to Drop the Charges against Bekah Hinojosa and Investigate Mayor Mendez for Abuse of Power!

City of Brownsville

Brownsville environmental activist Bekah Hinojosa was wrongfully arrested and imprisoned for 26 hours. She is now facing a Class B Misdemeanor for Anti-SpaceX Graffiti. The Brownsville Mayor targeted her on his personal social media by revealing her name and place of employment just hours after her release. Her unjust imprisonment and subsequent treatment by the Mayor of Brownsville were clearly a response to her environmental activism–a violation of Bekah’s civil rights.

On the morning of Wednesday, February 16, 2022, two cars of Brownsville police invaded the home of a local environmental activist, Bekah Hinojosa. Without allowing her to properly dress and without providing a warrant, they arrested her, took away her prescription eyeglasses, subjected her to interrogation without a lawyer, and held her in jail for 26 hours, all based on a single alleged charge of Class B misdemeanor graffiti. This type of charge does not typically require much attention of the Brownsville Police Department beyond a citation and certainly does not require arrest.

Immediately after her release, and, apparently in coordination with city jail officials, the Mayor of Brownsville, Trey Mendez singled out and publicly attacked Hinojosa by publishing her photo from the Brownsville Police Department, in a post on his official Facebook page, setting her up for criticism and potential harm from his constituents. He also included the name of Hinojosa's employer in an attempt to harm her ability to make a living. Notably, Mayor Mendez has never treated anyone else in this way on his official Facebook page. Due to her community-engaged work speaking out against the destructive impact SpaceX is causing to the Rio Grande Valley’s environment and community, it seems clear Mayor Mendez lashed out at Hinojosa. He unjustly blamed and targeted her for spray-painted graffiti that said "gentrified / stop SpaceX", underneath the controversial "BTX" mural in downtown Brownsville, paid for by Elon Musk, the CEO of SpaceX. By the morning of Friday, Feb 18, the graffiti at the bottom of the mural was covered up. After receiving backlash from the community, Mayor Trey Mendez has since edited his original post, but the damage is done: Bekah has experienced significant trauma and harm as a result of his actions. Read for more background: Texas Observer article published 2-22-22 by Gus Bova:

Tell the City of Brownsville to drop Class B Misdemeanor for Anti-SpaceX Graffiti and begin an investigation of Mayor Mendez for abuse of power!

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Mayor Mendez abused his official authority and subjected Hinojosa to a violent arrest because she is outspoken about the destructive impacts that SpaceX has on our environment and community. This is clear retaliation, violating Rebekah’s 1st Amendment protected conduct to challenge the environmental impact of SpaceX. Mayor Mendez is violating federal law.

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To: City of Brownsville
From: [Your Name]

To the City of Brownsville -

I demand that the City of Brownsville immediately drop the Class B misdemeanor charge graffiti against Rebekah Hinojosa because she was subjected to a politically-motivated arrest that violates her civil rights.

Additionally, I demand that the City of Brownsville launch an investigation of Mayor Trey Mendez for abuse of power. It is clear that Mayor Mendez abused his official authority and subjected Hinojosa to a violent arrest because she is outspoken about the destructive impacts that SpaceX is causing to our environment and community. Mayor Mendez singled out and publicly attacked Hinojosa by publishing her Brownsville Police Department photo on his official Facebook page. In Mayor Mendez’s post, he also published the name of Hinojosa’s employer in an apparent attempt to harm her ability to earn a living. Mayor Mendez made clear that he was lashing out since she is quoted in anti-SpaceX articles and because of a small message that had been painted below the controversial “BTX” mural in downtown Brownsville, to the effect of “gentrified / stop SpaceX.” By the morning of Friday, Feb 18, the graffiti at the bottom of the mural was covered up.

The City of Brownsville should not allow reckless endangerment of its citizens by its highest elected official, an immediate investigation should begin with consequences and repercussions due to his actions.

Sincerely,