The Carrollton Police Department seems to respond to all complaints with a standard form letter stating they did nothing wrong. Attempting to utilize the city’s written policy for appeals just falls on deaf ears or flat out refusal. As a last resort, one would hope the Mayor might be somewhat objective with the voting public’s best interest in mind. Clearly, that is a fool’s hope.
We contacted Carrollton, Texas Mayor Matthew Marchant (son of Congressman Kenny Marchant) to enlighten him to the problems with his police force, and the fact that the City Manager refused to follow written policy concerning appeals. Instead of enforcing the city’s policy, he responded:
“Our Police Department takes complaints seriously and has a history of disciplining and even terminating officers that are so deserving.”
The form letter and lack of response we have received would indicate otherwise. Add that the City Manager wouldn’t even follow the appeals policy showed us the Mayor’s response was laughable. Maybe it was just us?
We made a cursory search for incidents with Carrollton police officers, and came upon what should have been the perfect example to easily validate Mayor Marchant’s claim.
It did not.
A few years back, a Carrollton officer arrested a man for DWI. While checking in to jail, the officer asked the suspect to give him his coat. When the suspect declined, the officer shoved him face first into the wall with such force, he was nearly horizontal at the time of impact. Having his hands in his pockets made him particularly vulnerable to such an aggressive response. While the suspect admitted to drinking, he was not being aggressive. Certainly not a person that deserved to effectively be picked up, and smashed face first into a wall.
In a case like this, what would seem like fair discipline? Not as just a police officer, but as any person. If you took a vulnerable, unsuspecting person, and smashed him face first into a wall, what would be YOUR consequences? A slap on the wrist? It being left to the victim to decide if he/she wanted to file civil suit?
Cities now know that they can get away with quite a bit without worry. As with our case, the mayor and city attorney went so far as to taunt us…challenging us to get a private attorney. Why? They know that attorney’s only want slam-dunk cases. Cases so egregious that settlement or a quick jury trial will be clear because they want to split the winnings. They also know if the case isn’t a slam-dunk, attorneys wont take the case pro bono, and most people can’t afford to risk the money to pay a good lawyer. Even if they lose, they have an endless supply of taxpayer money to pay.
In our example case, the officer only faced a civil trial. While you or I would have certainly faced a criminal case, this officer did not. He did, however, lose his civil case to the amount of $80K. Not the city, but the individual officer. That may appear to be a pretty big hit for any person, but police have the protection of lawsuit insurance and the backing of their union.
Where is this officer today? He is still employed by the Carrollton Police Department, and has faced no criminal charges.
Was the city good at “disciplining and even terminating” based on such an egregious act? Did they even file criminal assault charges on this officer? No. Even after the personal trial against the officer, the city stated they would “take no more action” against the officer.
Is Mayor Matthew Marchant a liar? Clueless? Just another blowhard politician?
Mayor Matthew Marchant