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Posts Tagged ‘Deputy Donald Williams

Rusk City Manager accused of wiretapping; Sheriff Deputy under Texas Rangers investigation

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drug busts

US Attorney Malcolm Bales announces Jacksonville, TX drug raids with Dallas FBI, Sheriff James Campbell, and District Attorney Rachel Patton. (Source: April 1, 2015 Jacksonville Progress)

Like a lot of areas in backwoods East Texas, Cherokee County law enforcement illegally wiretaps and intercepts telephone conversations to conduct drug raids. For providing this information to outside agencies such as the FBI and Narcotics Task Forces, as well as assisting on drug cases for the US Attorney’s office, these small towns are given carte blanche access to any and every private citizen’s personal and business phone conversations. In fact, they are publicly rewarded for violating federal law like they do in 3rd World countries. They are advised to deny it, lie about it, and continue to provide as much information with as little legwork as possible. The Cherokee County Sheriff’s Department records phone calls to blackmail political opponents and quash dissent among their Good Ol’ Boy and Gal network. They catalog the locals’ extramarital affairs within the District Attorney’s office and hold each other by the balls for Grand Jury selection. And these folks have been screwing each other like rabbits since their High School days.

Who is cheating on whom these days?

With the ousting of outsider Rachel Patton for ruffling their feathers and with Elmer Beckworth returning to the District Attorney’s office in a few weeks, the uninformed public can expect the Night of the Long Knives to come out in full force. When one of them is caught not towing the County line, the fingers start pointing, the accusations start to fly, and the misdirections are set up like traffic cones to mislead the public.  Following in Beckworth’s footsteps they blame the other for their own actions.



Wife swapping and wiretapping? Who’s spying on whom? 


In an open City Council meeting on July 14, 2016 the Rusk Police Department accused longtime Rusk City Manager Mike Murray  of “illegal wiretapping.”  Lt. Brad George of the Rusk PD and others also accused Murray of “retaliation against the police force.” City council has requested a Texas Rangers investigation during back-to-back closed sessions. (Source: KETK) Murray, the local police department, TDC Skyview, and the Sheriff’s Dept. had worked together for decades without dissent. The internal feud is said to have started after the handling of assault charges against the Volunteer Fire Chief earlier this year.  Nepotism between the Cherokee County Sheriff and his son the Rusk Chief of Police, and their extralegal means of small town social control is on full display for the local media.


Clocking in at 300 + lbs., it is highly unlikely Mr. Murray is capable of scaling telephone poles and running outlaw phone drops throughout the county to eavesdrop on local drug dealers, lonely wives, and families of his political opponents; however Sheriff Campbell’s deputies and those related to law enforcement are paid to do so.

Illegal phone tapping in Rusk City Hall

Cherokee County newspapers refuse to mention the reason for the Texas Rangers investigation into Mike Murray and the charge of ILLEGAL PHONE TAPPING that Rachel Patton has recommended to the Texas Attorney General. Instead they focus on a fictitious claim of low morale among the police department and city employees for the reason Murray has been placed on paid administrative leave. (Source: Daily Progress) It takes reports from Tyler and Longview to shine the light on the common Cherokee County practice of “illegally wiretapping phone conversations.” (Source: KETK)


OK, boys and girls, let’s play a game called “Follow the Logic…”

  1. Teenage boys driving around on New Year’s Eve amuse themselves by tossing a firecracker near a local fireworks stand operated by the Rusk Volunteer Fire Chief, Donald Lankford.
  2. Pissed off Fire Chief jumps in his car and in a high speed chase into neighboring Anderson County, cuts them off several times, pulls them over and roughs up the pranksters.
  3. Fire Chief is charged with misdemeanor assault in Anderson County; pranksters are let off with a warning.
  4. Fire Chief continues to work at the Rusk, TX Fire Dept. while his case is aired on local television; some reports say he is suspended for 6 months, others say he is still employed. (Source: KETK)
  5. A “rift develops” between the City of Rusk Police Department and the City Manager according to some accounts.
  6. During an open Rusk City Council session in late July, the Rusk PD accuses City Manager of illegally tape recording phone conversations ; Rusk City Council asks the Texas Rangers to intervene and continues to hold closed door hearings to keep prying eyes out of personal vendettas.

Sources: Jacksonville Progress, KETK.

Break the Law- keep your TCLEOSE license and your pension

In yet another example of unaccountability, veteran Cherokee County Sheriff Deputy Donald Williams is asked to quietly retire July 29, 2016 after the Texas Rangers investigate a June 21st incident in Alto, TX. Unlike in other venues throughout the state, no explanation is given to reporters or required by the locals. In fact, they’ll pretend Deputy Williams never even worked there or helped get their cousins elected. Fall housekeeping is in full swing with the Texas Rangers in town to maintain the status quo.


Mother and 11-year old daughter pepper sprayed at Mudstock ATV event

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In the Eastern District of Texas, United States District Court

Case 6:12-cv-00071, Janette Vaught and H.Y. a minor v. Cherokee County, Texas, Deputy Donald Williams, Unknown Sheriff’s Deputy, Sheriff James Campbell; and Townsquare Media, LLC

Jacksonville, TX:

The US Eastern District will be considering another civil rights complaint filed by a Smith County resident who attended Jacksonville’s Mudcreek Off-Road Park event in September 2010. Janette Vaught and her 11-year old daughter were pulled from a moving 4-wheeler driven by a third person, and all three kicked and maced by Cherokee County Sheriff Deputies working security at the annual Mudstock event. Participants in the pageant were pre-assigned drivers who paraded couples and family members around the arena. The driver of Ms. Vaught and her daughter’s ATV was David Barlow of Rusk, TX.  Barlow was charged with resisting arrest after the pepper spraying, and recently accepted a deferred adjudication agreement. As Barlow drove around the arena, he apparently failed to quickly respond to the command of Deputy Don Williams as the ATV carrying Ms. Vaught and her daughter approached the event center stage. As a result, Barlow was hauled off to jail that evening and mother and daughter were sent home bruised up with a belly full of mace. Ms. Vaught and her daughter reside in Tyler, TX, the child with relatives.

David Barlow is apparently no stranger to the Cherokee County criminal justice system. With a pending civil rights complaint against them, Barlow could have faced a courtroom of ineligible jurors in their back pockets, or have the district judge sentence him in hopes of quelling his passengers’  civil complaint. The fact is Cherokee County law enforcement knows they can lose their cool and there will be no repercussions for roughing up innocent bystanders and pepper spraying children in the process. Sheriff James Campbell does not reprimand his employees for violating the law and the higher courts will not hold that bunch accountable without a federal jury trial. Hence the US Eastern District’s pattern of summarily dismissing civil rights cases across their jurisdiction, before a vetted federal jury can even consider the complaints.

In her complaint, Ms. Vaught is seeking punitive damages against the Cherokee County sheriff department and the radio station that organized of the off-road event. She claims the lack screening of drivers and security, as well as Sheriff James Campbell’s departmental policies, lead to her and her daughter’s injuries.

As the driver of the all-terrain vehicle approached a stage, police officers grabbed his [Barlow’s] arm and used Mace on the driver and on Vaught and her daughter.

Ms.Vaught further states that she attempted to file a written report with the sheriff regarding the incident but a proper investigation was not conducted.

She claims she was told to contact the FBI.

On behalf of the minor, the plaintiff is seeking damages for emotional trauma, loss of sleep, anxiety, loss of appetite and fear. (Source: Southeast Texas Record, Feb. 27, 2012 Radio station sued after police Mace child at Mudstock event)

Every spectator, vendor and contestant at the event witnessed the arrest of David Barlow and assault of his passengers, but only one media outlet located in Beaumont, TX reported the assaults and original Civil Tort Claim.

Count One: the violation of Ms. Vaught and her daughter’s constitutional right by the reckless behavior of the Cherokee County deputies and their policy in place of pretending that the pepper spraying and kicking of three compliant individuals, including a child, didn’t take place. Even though every single spectator at the stage level eye-witnessed the mother and daughter thrown from the 4-wheeler by deputies kicking David Barlow’s ass. Has any Cherokee County official in recent memory, other than County Attorney Craig Caldwell, ever issued a formal apology for making a mistake? (Source: KETK Jan. 19, 2012, “County Attorney apologizes to KETK”)

By their conduct and the ensuing lack of investigation or disciplinary actions, the Sheriff’s Department obviously endorsed an unwritten policy, practice, and/or custom of indifference to the rights and safety of by standers during arrests and demanding instant compliance despite the fact that the vehicle was still running. The target of the arrest had no weapons, and had apparently done nothing more than, at most, fail to immediately follow the instructions of Deputy Williams. Any reasonable deputy would have made sure the bystanders were safe before undertaking violent actions against someone in such close proximity in a public place.

In Count Two, Ms. Vaught spells out in her complaint the trauma her daughter suffered from a getting a lung full of pepper spray and the child’s loss of appetite and nightmares.

Although Plaintiffs’ injuries to their eyes and respiratory systems were temporary, the same were extremely painful and the effects lingered for several days. Psychologically, the injures were more profound. Plaintiff Vaught sought to hold the Defendant Deputies responsible or at least secure an apology and assurance that this type of behavior would be punished. Instead, she met with official indifference to the assault she and her minor daughter suffered. Having lost her voice, she suffered, and still suffers from physical manifestations of her emotional distress including loss of appetite, loss of sleep, anxiety and stress. Similarly, H.Y. suffered from painful irritation to her eyes, nose, throat, and lungs in addition to headaches. More importantly, she suffered severe emotional trauma and now has a fear/distrust of males in general, and law enforcement and authority figures in particular. Her schoolwork suffered and she experienced loss of sleep, anxiety, and loss of appetite among other psychological symptoms.”

Count Three addresses the Cherokee County deputies’ unlawful assault and battery that in itself was reckless with absolutely no regard to other’s safety or welfare. Such disregard for human life is apparent in the County’s and Sheriff’s policymaking, therefore Ms. Vaught’s complaint shows the deputies’ actions that day meet the approval of Sheriff James Campbell. The fact is the Cherokee County sheriff never apologizes for anything his deputies engage in, whether it is beating those in custody, or his lead investigator caught red handed emailing lies about the Jacksonville police chief. Campbell’s policy of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” has been in effect since the days he and convicted child pornographer Harold ‘Bo’ Scallon stood watch over the Rusk Youth Center. (Source: Cherokeean Herald, March 3, 1983) The word “accountability” does not exist in Cherokee County lingo.

Count Four holds the Townsquare media organization negligent for hiring incompetent security who put the entire event at risk, as was done during the 2004 Tomato Bowl riot. The city of Jacksonville was forced to settle with those sustaining injuries in that preventable Homecoming football game melee. The Jacksonville Police Department was present during the Mudstock event and offered no assistance according to Janette Vaught’s tort claim. However, she is not suing the city, only members of the Sheriff Department and ATV pageant organizers.

We shall see if the US Eastern District again refuses to hold Cherokee County accountable for its documented and ongoing civil rights violations. We shall see if these homegrown judges find another battered woman and her minor daughter to be Cherokee County’s throw away collateral damage, since an underpaid deputy’s apology is out of the question.

(Source: Case 6:12-cv-00071, Janette Vaught and H.Y. a minor v. Cherokee County, Texas, Deputy Donald Williams, Unknown Sheriff’s Deputy, Sheriff James Campbell, and Townsquare Media, LLC)