A Hearne police sergeant was suspended because he texted photos of his gonads to “one or more female employees of the City of Hearne” and because he “carried on extramarital relationships with one or more mistresses while he was supposed to be supervising a patrol shift,” according to a court document that I filed over the weekend.
Mayor Ruben Gomez previously confirmed on April 4, 2017 that Sgt. Stephen Yohner (or “Sgt. Tallywacker,” if you prefer) had been suspended with pay, but he did not give a reason for the suspension. Interim City Manager John “Boy Wonder” Naron, City Secretary Linda Pecina, and City Attorney Pro Tem Tangerlia Felton have since fought to keep the information from becoming public, and the attempted cover-up may be a bigger story than anything that Sgt. Tallywacker has done.
The sexual misconduct revelations are found in a motion that I filed in State of Texas v. Rodrick Jackson, where I represent City Councilman Rodrick Jackson against a bogus assault charge filed by Hearne PD. The lead investigator on the case was none other than Sgt. Tallywacker, and we are set for a jury trial on May 4, 2017. My motion asks the court to order city officials to turn over the records concerning Sgt. Tallywacker.
That would be a routine request under normal circumstances, because state and federal courts ruled long ago that prosecutors must share exculpatory evidence with criminal defendants, including evidence related to the credibility of anyone that the government intends to call as a witness. These, however, are not normal circumstances.
On the contrary, the case against Mr. Jackson appears to be a political vendetta of Mr. Naron, who detests Mr. Jackson and considers him a political enemy. Just read below about the effort to recall Mr. Jackson from the council. And consider how differently Sgt. Yohner and Mr. Jackson have been treated by city officials. In my July 12, 2016 post, I published a letter outlining how city officials immediately spread salacious accusations about Mr. Jackson to the media, implying that Mr. Jackson was sexually involved with an underage female. Yet the city still fights tooth and nail to hide the allegations against Sgt. Yohner.
Here’s an excerpt of my July 12, 2016 letter to Mr. Naron:
I received the attached email from [Robertson County News Publisher] Dennis Phillips this afternoon, and I am not amused. I notified my client, Mr. Jackson, and he immediately called Chief Thomas Williams. Mr. Jackson told Chief Williams that Lt. Pat Armstrong had already said the complainant’s story was not credible and no charges would be filed. According to Mr. Jackson, Chief Williams replied that his department had since come under “pressure” from the complainant’s family to take action, so now a Class C charge will be filed.
Why is a newspaper publisher being told about forthcoming charges against my client before me or my client? The Hearne Police Department had already referred this case to District Attorney Coty Siegert, and Mr. Siegert asked the Texas Rangers to investigate the allegations against Mr. Jackson. Cindy Wallace, one of Mr. Siegert’s staff members, told Mr. Jackson that the Rangers found no reason to file charges. So why has the somewhat less illustrious Hearne Police Department decided that it needs to take up the case again after referring it to another agency? Does somebody have an axe to grind? And does somebody want the case tried in municipal court, i.e., in front of “Judge” Hazel Embra?
When (not “if”) Mr. Jackson beats the charge before a jury, I intend to file suit for malicious prosecution, and you can rest assured that I’ll be deposing Chief Williams, Lt. Armstrong, and maybe the entire department to find out who decided to play politics with this case. And I’ll probably ask the Robertson County Grand Jury to indict some officers for official oppression.
So let me put this in perspective. Sexual assault of a minor is a second-degree felony in Texas, punishable by up to 20 years in prison. The DA and the Texas Rangers looked into the allegations against Mr. Jackson and rejected them, yet the infamous Hearne Police Department decided it would issue the equivalent of a traffic ticket based on those same allegations. That’s the legal equivalent of writing someone a ticket for an attempted murder.
I defy anyone to show me another case where the Rangers and the DA rejected a sexual assault charge, but the Hearne Police Department decided to write someone a ticket for it. And consider this irony: it was none other than Sgt. Yohner who first told local media that the allegations against Mr. Jackson involved a minor female. That makes me wonder if the hypocritical sergeant took reporters’ phone calls at his mistress’s house, or whether he was sending pictures of his ying-yang between interviews.
By the way, a familiar name has resurfaced in the Yohner scandal: Booger County Mafia kingpin (and former city attorney) Bryan F. “Rusty” Russ, Jr. Here’s an email that I sent to Boy Wonder on April 7, 2017:
This afternoon I reviewed the personnel file for Sgt. Yohner, and it did not contain any information about his suspension. According to police personnel, the police chief was summoned to the office of Rusty Russ for a meeting, and after the chief returned to the office, he called Sgt. Yohner and informed him that he was suspended. I was told that everything was handled verbally.
Why was the meeting held in Mr. Russ’s office? Is he acting as the city attorney? As permitted by the Texas Public Information Act, I request the opportunity to view any records, documents, or communications pertaining to the suspension of Sgt. Yohner. If Mr. Russ generated or received any such information while purporting to act for the City of Hearne, I request the opportunity to view that information.
Mr. Naron never responded to the email. Instead, City Secretary Linda Pecina waited two weeks and then asked Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton for an opinion on whether the city could withhold the documents. As I explained in an email to Ms. Pecina, however, I first made my request for the records back in March, not April, therefore her request to the AG was untimely. That, in turn, means the records are presumed to be public and should be released (not that anyone in city hall really cares what the law says).
Meanwhile, I suspect the texts, photographs, and other records concerning Sgt. Tallywacker are being kept in Mr. Russ’s office in order to sidestep the Texas Public Information Act (after all, Mr. Russ hid initiative petition signatures in his office not so long ago). So far, the city has produced only a single page stating that Sgt. Yohner was suspended (and offering no reason), but where are the texts, photos, etc.? If records are being withheld, somebody could face a misdemeanor charge of violating of the Public Information Act or perhaps a felony charge of tampering with a governmental record.
THE FRAUDULENT ATTEMPT TO RECALL COUNCILMAN JACKSON
Back on November 14, 2016, Booger County Mafia operatives submitted a petition to trigger a recall election for Mr. Jackson, but something was very fishy from the outset. Normally, the city secretary submits the signatures to the county elections administrator, who then determines whether there are enough valid signatures on the petition, but this time was different.
Mr. Naron and his cronies, then-City Attorney George Hyde and then-Assistant City Attorney Sarah Griffin, immediately tried to dupe the city council into scheduling a recall election before the signatures were verified. For months thereafter, they kept trying to convince the council that it was obligated to schedule the recall election, and the two sleazy attorneys racked up thousands of dollars in legal bills for “research” on the city council’s purported duty to schedule the recall election.
All the while, I kept asking Mr. Naron, Mr. Hyde, and Ms. Griffin why they were trying to schedule the recall election when they had not first determined whether the petition contained enough valid signatures (consider this bizarre email exchange with Mr. Naron). During that time, the city council kept deadlocking 3-3 on whether to schedule the recall and, after Mr. Hyde and Ms. Griffin resigned under a cloud of suspicion, Boy Wonder finally grew desperate.
Without any authorization from the council, Mr. Naron took it upon himself to ask Robertson County Commissioners to compel the recall election, but they wisely refused (because they had no authority). After all of that, the signatures were finally submitted to the elections administrator, who confirmed to me several weeks ago what I suspected all along: many of the signatures were invalid, and the remaining signatures were too few to trigger a recall election.
Whereas Boy Wonder and his fellow reprobates were constantly seeking media attention for the recall petition, they tried to bury the news that it failed to qualify for the ballot. Surprise, surprise.
Since speaking with the elections administrator, I have obtained an affidavit from one voter who testified that his signature was forged on the petition. I suspect there are others, and I will be requesting a criminal investigation in due time. And now you can see why I believe Boy Wonder is behind the bogus criminal charge against Mr. Jackson. He really has an ax to grind.
FIGHT THE MAFIA
At the bottom of my January 6, 2017 post, I explained why I was optimistic about the future of Hearne, namely because its citizens have voted against the Booger County Mafia in the last three election cycles. I am still optimistic, but as I noted in my last post, the Mafia is still fighting to maintain control.
Let’s face it, part of the issue is racial, i.e., the Mafia fears that uppity black people like Rodrick Jackson might take over city hall. But please allow my white Republican self to propose something for your consideration: white people have been running Hearne since Reconstruction, and yet it has been as corrupt and backwards as any small town in Texas.
On the other hand, most of the people who pushed for the audit of city finances are black, and most of the people fighting the corruption of John Naron, Pee Wee Drake, Mayor Gomez, Rusty Russ, et al., are black. The issue is neither Republican or Democrat, nor is it black or white. The issue is corruption.
If you want more of it, then vote for Mayor Ruben Gomez, Councilman Emmett Aguirre, and former Councilwoman LaShunda White. If you’re tired of the corruption, then vote for Milton Johnson, Shirley Harris, and Ola Mae Redmond. It’s no more complicated than that.
By the way, Ms. White still has not responded to my April 14, 2017 challenge to produce the records showing how many times city officials intervened to keep her electricity from being turned off for non-payment. What’s to hide, Ms. White?