houston police

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Post-mass shooting police press conferences are a new battleground over ‘wokeness’

Conservatives think cops are spending too much time on pronouns.


Tricia Crimmins


Posted on Feb 12, 2024

Genesse Ivonne Moreno shot and injured two people at Joel Osteen’s mega-church in Houston, Texas yesterday. One of the victims, a child, is still in critical condition.

Moreno, who was shot and killed by off-duty police officers at the scene, used aliases and at times went by the name Jeffrey Escalante.

Houston Police took time to explain Moreno’s identity in a press conference on the situation, which angered conservatives.

In a press conference aired live on the Houston Police Department’s Facebook page, Moreno is initially referred to as “an individual” by Commander Christopher Hassig, who oversees the department’s homicide division.

He later confirmed that her driver’s license listed her as female.

“There are some discrepancies. We do have reports she used multiple aliases including Jeffrey Escalante,” Hassig said. “She has utilized both male and female names, but through all of our investigation to this point—talking with individuals, interviews, documents, Houston Police Department reports—she has been identified this entire time as ‘female,’ ‘she,’ ‘her.'”

A clip of Hassig’s remarks about Moreno quickly went viral on X when it was posted by @EndWokeness, an account with over 2 million followers committed to “fighting, exposing, and mocking wokeness.”

“Houston PD ran an entire investigation to figure out which pronouns to use for the shooter at Lakewood Church,” the X user wrote.

Replies to the tweet included some body-shaming of Hassig, comments on how he delivered information about Moreno, and cliched remarks about how after Moreno was shot and killed, her pronouns became “was/were.”

In the wake of videos like this, such as after shootings in Nashville and Colorado Springs, right-wingers have feigned outrage, claiming cops are showing more deference to the perpetrators than the victims by discussing or admitting to using their preferred pronouns.

The video discussing Moreno’s gender and aliases made some think the department was forced, somehow (by wokeness or whatever boogeyman) to focus its investigation on those aspects of Moreno’s life, hindering their investigation.

“It’s very encouraging to see that the number one priority of the police after somebody shoots up a church is ensuring that they be addressed by the correct pronouns,” wrote one user.

X, Tesla, and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk chimed in, saying that Houston police had “seriously messed up priorities,” furthering the accusation.

The Daily Dot has reached out to the Houston Police Department.

Others online remarked on the possibility that Moreno was trans, posting photos of Dylan Mulvaney and referencing Audrey Hale. Mulvaney is a trans creator whose 2023 partnership with Bud Light caused conservatives to boycott the beer brand; Hale shot and killed six students and teachers at a Nashville, Tennessee school in 2023, and was transgender.

Shootings by people who identify as trans—of which there have been few compared to the massive number of overall shootings in America—have created newfound panic on the right, causing many to think that mass shootings are somehow a manifestation or symptom of transitioning.

A recent white male mass shooter in Maine subscribed to this theory.

A long-sought-after manifesto by Hale was expected to expose this growing concern, but when it was released, did not mention transitioning. However, that didn’t stop the belief from percolating.

“When was the last time a normal person killed innocent people with a gun?” a reply to @EndWokeness’s viral tweet says, alongside a photo of Mulvaney.

The answer to that question would seem to depend on how “normal” it is to “kill innocent people with a gun” in the first place.

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*First Published: Feb 12, 2024, 4:48 pm CST