Lawsuit: Texas senator quashed investigation of state trooper girlfriend

The chairman of the Texas Senate’s Criminal Justice Committee quashed an internal investigation of a female state trooper with whom he had an affair, according to an amended federal lawsuit filed this morning.

The lawsuit alleges that Senator John Whitmire (D-Houston) intervened with Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw to terminate the investigation of Trooper Diane Martinez and Captain Rolando Rivas. Whitmire’s committee oversees DPS.

Ironically, Martinez and Rivas were under investigation because another trooper reported the captain for showing favoritism toward Martinez, “with whom [the captain] appeared to be having an inappropriate relationship.” Here’s an excerpt from the lawsuit:

47. In April of 2016, Corporal Katherine Gibson (formerly Creekmore) filed a misconduct complaint against Captain Rolando Rivas because he was showing favoritism toward a subordinate, Trooper Diane Martinez, with whom he appeared to be having an inappropriate relationship. OIG [i.e., the DPS Office of Inspector General] initiated an investigation, and within a matter of weeks Captain Rivas began cleaning out his office. At one point, the captain’s secretary discovered a note in his office that caused her and other co-workers to fear that Captain Rivas might harm himself. A short time later, however, the chairman of the Texas Senate’s Criminal Justice Committee intervened with Defendant McCraw on behalf of Captain Rivas, and the OIG investigation was quashed. As it happens, Trooper Martinez had boasted about having an intimate relationship with the married committee chairman, Senator John Whitmire.

48. After Defendant McCraw quashed the investigation, Captain Rivas was allowed to resume his position in Cpl. Gibson’s chain of command. Predictably, he began retaliating against her with numerous bad-faith accusations and disciplinary write-ups. The stress became so severe that Cpl. Gibson sought and obtained medical leave in May of 2017 due to harassment from her chain-of-command. She filed a second misconduct complaint against Captain Rivas in July of 2018, as well as complaints against Lieutenant Glen Lester and Sgt. Rito Morales, because of the ongoing retaliation scheme. Since that time, Defendant Fleming has deliberately slow-walked the investigation, Lieutenant Glen Lester and Sgt. Rito Morales have been allowed to transfer and Captain Rivas is scheduled to retire on February 28, 2019. This is standard operating procedure for Defendant McCraw and Defendant Fleming. When they can no longer cover up misconduct by a senior officer, the investigation is delayed and the senior officer is allowed to retire quietly… By delaying her findings, Defendant Fleming can close the investigation without sustaining any of the allegations. As a result, the report will not be subject to public release, and DPS will be saved from embarrassing revelations.

In the interest of full disclosure, I filed the amended lawsuit on behalf of my client, Trooper Billy Spears, who was punished in 2015 for allowing himself to be photographed with Snoop Dogg at SXSW (the incident made international news and resulted in continued retaliation against Trooper Spears). Captain Rivas and Trooper Martinez were added to the complaint in order to demonstrate a pattern of corruption, cronyism, and cover-ups at DPS. [Continued on Page 2].

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