Sheriff’s office investigation forwarded to attorney general

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By AMANDA KIMBLE
TheFlashToday.com

ERATH COUNTY (January 31, 2017) – The investigation into operations at the Erath County Sheriff’s Office is ongoing. According to Sgt. Stan Roper with the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE), the case has been forwarded to the Office of Attorney General Ken Paxton.

Among other things, TCOLE is charged with investigating ethical and legal complaints made against law enforcement officials across the state. Simply put, the commission investigates alleged wrongdoings by investigators and other licensed peace officers.

The Erath County investigation began many months ago, with Roper making multiple trips to the local area to speak with witnesses and obtain information late last year.

Roper told The Flash on Tuesday he had wrapped up his work and any criminal prosecution would be handled by the attorney general’s office. He also said there is no guarantee that indictments will be sought.

Roper declined further comment on the case and would not answer questions relating to the identity of peace officers involved or the nature of the allegations against them, citing the ongoing state investigation.

Meanwhile, Sheriff Matt Coates, who was sworn into office following the death of longtime Sheriff Tommy Bryant in late December, says he knows little about the case.

Prior to his death, Bryant confirmed the investigation, saying he had called TCOLE to self-report an incident at the Erath County Sheriff’s Office in the spring of 2016 after learning a deputy had taken certification exams in his name.

Bryant, who was weeks away from being sworn in his 20th year in office, was found dead in his home a week after making the public comments. 

Meanwhile, other members of the department, including some of Bryant’s top-ranking officials were either terminated or not rehired by Coates. 

The Flash continues to pursue information on this case and will publish any findings as soon as they become available.


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