FLASH STAFF REPORT
February 21, 2019
ERATH COUNTY – It’s been a long investigation – including a death, a lawsuit, one man was cleared of all charges and now, two others face charges of abuse of power and aggravated perjury.
According to county officials, two former sheriff’s department officers – Jason Upshaw (chief deputy) and Randy Fowler (captain) – were indicted on Wednesday after Texas AG officials presented their case to an Erath County Grand Jury.
These charges stem from the investigation into the department while under the direction of former Erath County Sheriff Tommy Bryant. During the course of that investigation several members of the department were suspended and then let go from their positions including Upshaw and Fowler as well as Bobby Mendez, who was later cleared of all charges and is now serving as the police chief in Dublin.
Following their release from the department, Upshaw and Fowler sued the county commissioners – Dee Stephens, Herbert Brown, Joe Brown and Scot Jackson – as well as new sheriff Matt Coates in 2017 in federal court for depriving them of due process and their civil rights. Time will tell how these indictments will effect those claims and the suits against county officials.
UPDATE (2/21/19 4:45 p.m.): Upshaw and Fowler were booked into the Erath County Jail Wednesday afternoon on two charges each and walked through, which means they were immediately released on bonds and not required to spend any actual time behind