The Texas Rangers agreed in March 2018 to a request by the New Boston City Council to investigate Police Chief Tony King for firing a lieutenant without cause, racial discrimination in hiring and making taxpayer underwritten purchases without Council approval.
Citizens of this city of 4,500 in the far northeast corner of the state have alleged King has made arrests without probable cause in violation of their civil rights, City Council member Joe Dike told the Texarkana Gazette.
“People here are terrified of him,” Dike said. “I won’t stop until I get to the bottom of this. I have a duty to protect the city and to tell the truth. Thank God the Rangers are coming.”
Last Tuesday, during the same meeting, the Council directed Bowie County District Attorney Jerry Rochelle to request the Texas Rangers investigate, and voted to reinstate Lt. Johnny Millwood, dismissed without a reason by King on March 9.
Milwood is currently on paid administrative leave pending the Rangers’ investigation, according to KTBS-TV. However, Millwood’s status with the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement is currently “terminated/separated.”
The Council inadvertently paved the way for Millwood’s dismissal when, in January, King asked for its approval of the city policy manual changes Dike said were described as “updates.” Among the updates was a rule change allowing a department head to fire any city employee without a right to appeal.
“I called King the day of the termination, and he said he couldn’t tell me (why Millwood was being fired),” Dike told the Gazette. “I believe the change to the personnel policy was made specifically so King could fire Millwood. We were told in January that it was a housekeeping matter and we passed it without ever seeing a copy. We didn’t know it removed the employee’s right to appeal. I feel we were misled.”
Butch Dunbar, a Texarkana attorney representing Millwood, said the Rangers who have been asked to investigate an allegation that King passed over a more qualified black officer to hire a white one, the story says.
In addition, King is alleged to have purchased a .50-caliber sniper rifle without Council approval.
Dike also gave the Gazette a written statement from a witness who said he saw King arrest a patron outside a local catfish restaurant more than a year ago. When the patron failed to clean up his dishes, King confronted him and although he tidied up, King followed him outside. When he would not provide his name, King arrested him, the story says.
When the witness and his mother went to the Police Department to complain, King was there to greet them. “He smirked, laughed and disrespected my mother,” the written statement read. “I explained the restaurant is not his kitchen, and unless someone is breaking the law, he has no right to arrest people for what he thinks should be done there.”
An unnamed “local member of the judiciary” later recommended to King that he release the patron, Dike told the Gazette.
In April 2018 Chief King terminated senior Lieutenant Johnny Milwood creating more furious accusations of corruption.
The letter written by Chief King, was placed in the Lt. Milwood’s personnel file says Milwood was terminated from the New Boston Police department for “Lack of Confidence.”
The four-page document, characterized as a “statement” by New Boston City Secretary Darla Faulknor, was sent to the media through email earlier this afternoon “upon the request of Mayor [Johnny] Branson and Chief of Police Tony King.”
In the letter, King writes about alleged complaints lodged against Milwood by fellow New Boston police officers, residents of the East Texas town, and other law enforcement officers from other police agencies.
King also describes an incident where Milwood became irate with the Police Chief, yelled at him, and threatened to file a lawsuit against King.
During Tuesday night’s New Boston, Texas, City Council Meeting, allegations were made against Police Chief Tony King, accusing him of police misconduct and harassment — as well as labeling him as a racist
Shortly after council members recited the pledge of allegiance and took their seats, the allegations began to fly.
“Maybe he didn’t like being questioned about sending sexually graphic pictures to officers,” Dunbar said, referring to King.
Dunbar is the local counsel for the Texas Municipal Officers Association.
He also represents former New Boston police Lt. Johnny Milwood, who was fired March 9 after six years on the force.
Dunbar claims King fired his client to keep the chief’s alleged misconduct under wraps after Milwood allegedly confronted King.
The claims of wrongdoing, according to Dunbar, include harassing citizens, allowing arrests to be made without probable cause and sending sexually explicit images to other members of the Police Department.
This termination of Milwood came two days before a special New Boston City Council meeting to discuss removing King as Chief of Police for lack of confidence. That meeting is scheduled for noon on Friday.
It was previously reported that King is under fire for allegedly ignoring a city council resolution to reinstate Milwood to the New Boston police department.
In February, following Milwood’s dismissal from the force, King also began to face allegations of racism and wrongdoing leveled at him by some city residents and an attorney representing Milwood.
In front of a packed City Council chamber, Dunbar also accused King of racial allegations, saying the chief used the “N” word to describe a police officer applicant.
“The administration didn’t want to know about hiring another ‘N-word’ officer,” Dunbar said. “A more qualified officer with a clean background but he happened to be an ‘N’.”
Dunbar went on to allege that King failed to follow Texas law when firing Millwood and that his client received no written notice or reason for his termination.
The New Boston Mayor and Council removed and dismissed Chief King last month due to “lack of confidence.”
Since Chief King was dismissed, Garry McCrary was named as Interim Acting Police Chief.