Hearne’s police chief suspended without pay (he should have been fired)

KBTX reported Tuesday night that Hearne Police Chief Thomas Williams was suspended without pay, and Mayor Ruben Gomez advised the station to get a copy of a Texas Rangers investigative report to understand why.

No need to wait. You can read a redacted copy of the report by clicking here, and yes, it’s really bad.  I reported back in February that Chief Wiggum Williams admitted in federal court that he had flushed marijuana down a toilet at police headquarters. At the time, he testified that it was only marijuana, and he claimed that it was not evidence (prompting a very skeptical look from U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman of Austin). Here’s an excerpt from the report written by Ranger Steven Jeter:

I asked Chief Williams if he had any knowledge of anyone flushing drugs down HPD’s toilets. Chief Williams confessed he and Yohner [i.e., former Sgt. Stephen Yohner, a.k.a., “Sgt. Tallywaker“] flushed unknown amounts of marijuana, cocaine, and other illegal drugs down the HPD toilet without a destruction order or without knowledge of whether the criminal cases related to the drugs were dispositioned. Chief Williams admitted that he and Yohner did not attempt to locate any case file or locate any suspect information for the now destroyed drugs. Chief Williams stated they flushed the drugs on Yohner’s last day at HPD.  According to Chief Williams, the drugs were found in a drawer located in Yohner’s desk at HPD. While flushing the drugs, the toilet clogged and a plunger was used to unclog the toilet.

The report also references rumors that Chief Williams was selling seized drugs on the street, as well as an accusation from a witness that Yohner either kept or sold drugs and evidence that he seized.  You may recall earlier accusations from other officers that Yohner was allowed to work unsupervised, and that he seized drugs and cash without accounting for it.  Regardless, the destruction of evidence was a felony all by itself, which leads me to wonder why the Robertson County grand jury no-billed Williams and Yohner last week. (Maybe District Attorney Coty Siegert can explain that to us).

The allegations about drugs came to light because Officer Jennifer Passmore accused Yohner of sexual harassment, and that brings us to another priceless gem in Jeter’s report:

I asked Chief Williams about the complaint of Sexual Harassment. Chief Williams admitted that he had heard police officers within HPD talk in a sexual manner. However, he never admonished them, he never asked them to change the topic, and never stopped anyone from making sexual remarks. Other than Officer Passmore, Chief Williams stated that he was not aware of anyone else within HPD who had made a complaint or voiced concern over the ‘culture’ within HPD… Chief Williams admitted HPD had Sexual Harassment policies. However, Chief Williams confessed he had never read it.

Any competent city council would have fired Williams immediately, but I’m delighted that Hearne will be keeping him around.  As my regular readers know,  I filed federal civil rights claims against Williams, Yohner, and the city (among others) for trying to frame former Councilman Rodrick Jackson, and that case is still pending.  Can you imagine how much fun I’m going to have with Williams and Yohner in front of a jury?

Chief Williams, did you lie when you testified before this court in January, or did you lie to the Texas Rangers?” I think I know what Chris Matthews meant when he said he had a “thrill up his leg.”

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