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Prominent civil rights attorney Lee Merritt plans to run for Texas attorney general

Civil rights attorney Lee Merritt announced via Twitter video that he is running for Texas...
Civil rights attorney Lee Merritt announced via Twitter video that he is running for Texas Attorney General stating, “It’s clear he (Ken Paxton) doesn’t want to do his job so I decided to go ahead and take it.”(ap)
Published: Mar. 21, 2021 at 1:39 PM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - Civil rights attorney Lee Merritt announced via a Twitter video that he plans to run for Texas attorney general, stating, “It’s clear he (Ken Paxton) doesn’t want to do his job so I decided to go ahead and take it.”

“I, actually, accidentally made a announcement yesterday that I was running for Texas Attorney general. I intend to run, I just didn’t plan to announce this today,” Merritt said in the video.

During the video, Merritt said he was concerned about the “the lack of inaction and lack of resources for people of mental health crisis in Texas.”

The attorney also said he wants to ensure “law enforcement wasn’t killing people in the process of getting them to mental health clinics.”

Merritt said he has constantly reached out to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and demanded Paxton “take responsibility of the poor training of police officers to deal with people in mental health crisis.”

Paxton allegedly “blocked” Merritt, the attorney said.

“I said if he didn’t do his job, I would take his job. It’s clear he doesn’t want to do his job so I decided to go ahead and take it,” Merritt said.

Merritt has represented several Central Texas families in cases involving officer-involved shootings.

Most recently, Merritt represented the family of Patrick Warren, Sr., 52, a local man who died after he was shot by Killeen Police Officer Reynaldo Contreras in January 2019.

“This is one of the worst officer-involved shootings that I’ve seen,” Merritt said in an interview with News 10.

Merritt is also representing the family of Michael Dean, a Temple man shot and killed during a traffic stop by former Temple Police Officer Carmen DeCruz in December 2019.

Paxton is up for reelection in November 2022. The state attorney general is currently under indictment on securities fraud charges and has pleaded not guilty.

In October 2020, Paxton came under fire when several high-level assistants in his office accused him of bribery and abuse of office.

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