The City of Hearne released records this evening that include complaints, X-rated texts and sexual misconduct allegations against former police Sgt. Stephen Yohner, a.k.a. “Sgt. Tallywacker,” and the complaints describe an atmosphere of sleaze, corruption, and incompetence throughout the police department.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton ordered the city to release the documents on June 28, 2017 after the city unsuccessfully appealed my April 7, 2017 open records request. As I reported back on April 22, 2017, Sgt. Tallywacker was placed on administrative leave after a female employee accused him of sending her a photo of his gonads.
It turns out the photo was only the tip of the iceberg. If half of the allegations against Chief Thomas Williams and his command staff are true, the department should be abolished and police services should be contracted out to the sheriff’s department.
Unfortunately, I don’t have much time to blog, so I’ll just direct you to the documents as they were produced to me in Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 (Fair warning: the last two are NSFW). KAGS will have more information tonight during its 10 pm broadcast, and feel free to post your own highlights and analysis in the comments section below.
That said, I’ll mention a couple of things that you won’t find in the records. First, I’ve been contacted by a couple of women who said they knew Sgt. Tallywacker and were terrified of him. According to these women, the sergeant had a history of sexual misconduct allegations at other small departments, but each department allowed him to quietly resign if he agreed not to sue the respective cities. Judging from the documents in Part 1, it looks like the same thing has happened in Hearne.
That reminds me of a conversation I had recently with Kim Vickers, director of the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement. Chief Vickers said dirty cops often get passed from one small department to another because the small departments would rather keep things quiet to avoid litigation. He said current law does not require local departments to report such misconduct to his agency (or any other agency) unless there is a conviction, so the dirty cops keep getting passed from one unsuspecting community to the next.
On a side note, City Manager John “Boy Wonder” Naron previously said all records concerning Sgt. Tallywacker’s misconduct had been turned over to the Texas Rangers, therefore he could not release them to me. I never bought that argument, because the city obviously had copies that it submitted to the AG’s office in support of its appeal. More telling is the fact that, according to the AG letter, the Texas Rangers never objected to the release of the documents. In other words, Boy Wonder was using the Rangers as an excuse to cover up Sgt. Tallywacker’s misconduct (no surprise there).
I doubt Sgt. Tallywacker will be charged with anything, and I know nothing will be reported to the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement. But any background investigator who Googles his name will be able to find this blog post and the records that I obtained from the city. Consider it a public service.