Sheriff Apologizes For Scandal Involving Top Deputies - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

05/16/07-Henderson

Sheriff Apologizes For Scandal Involving Top Deputies

An apology today from an East Texas sheriff.   Allegations have rocked his department, but he says those in his county can trust their deputies.  We've reported that two high ranking Rusk County sheriff's deputies have resigned as the FBI, the Texas Rangers, and the District Attorney all look into what happened in November: a man arrested, taken inside the sheriff's department allegedly threatened Rusk County's narcotics officer.

What happened after that isn't public yet, but it's led to an investigation of officer brutality.  

Sheriff Glen Deason: "It hurts me that it's taken this long to be brought to my attention."

He speaks of the allegation of brutality that has erupted in the media over the past week, though the incident happened in November.

"It is my understanding there were only two officers involved, they are Chief Deputy Dusty Flanagan and former CID Lieutenant Johnny Davidson," Deason said of the men who resigned last week.

"Both of them to me have always been good men," says attorney Ron Adkison, who has been plugged into this community for thirty years.  

He knows Dusty Flanagan and Johnny Davidson.

"If the allegations are true, it'll be regrettable because a cloud has been cast over a department that -- if you talk to everyone in the community -- has been doing a good job and it responsive," Adkison said.

We called and visited former Lt. Davidson's Kilgore home Wednesday but found no one. Davidson did speak to the Henderson Daily News where he admitted that the prisoner in custody in November, "...repeated his threats and at that time an incident occurred."

"I have made an inexcusable mistake and used bad judgement, but I have never lied about any case I have every investigated nor have any of the officers who have been named in this ordeal," he told the Daily News. 

Adkison says, "Everybody's human and everybody's fallible.

"That doesn't excuse it. I don't think that it's a systemic problem within the department."

This alleged civil rights violation isn't the only incident at the Rusk County Sheriff's Department being investigated. There are independent investigations on several matters, including alleged child pornography on a patrol car laptop computer. The deputy involved with that case is no longer with the department.

As for the alleged civil rights violation, Sheriff Deason said he only wished he knew sooner of the allegations involving his two top officers. 

Adkison says perhaps it's time for all smaller departments to look at the chain of command and who should report to whom and when.

"Officers are trained not to let that happen. Given we're all human, sometimes that happens. It's not excusable, but it needs to be reported. And it needs to be reported to everybody involved," he said.

Another deputy involved in the District Attorney's investigation is Sgt. Jamie Campbell.  Sheriff Deason Wednesday said Campbell had been cleared from investigation, but that was not confirmed by outside investigators -- the FBI and the Rusk County District Attorney.  Campbell remains on the force.

 

Morgan Palmer, reporting, morganpalmer@kltv.com

 

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