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The Lone Legislator

In 1919, an intrepid Texas state representative, José Tomás Canales, decided to lead an investigation into the abuse of power by the Texas Rangers. For several years, residents of South Texas had been reporting that members of the law enforcement agency were going rogue: beating, torturing, and even killing people, in the name of protecting Anglo settlers. The subsequent investigation into these abuses would illustrate the difficulties of reforming and creating oversight over policing on the border—and would leave behind a narrative about justified violence against the Mexican-American community, that lingers to this day.

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