Vandals target former sheriff's officers

August 17, 2009 12:20:29 PM PDT
The wife of a former major in the Harris County Sheriff's office is scared after vandals targeted her family. Now they want to know if it could be a case of retaliation.The former major and another former sheriff's office employee filed a lawsuit against the department. They say this isn't the first time they've been targeted since filing the suit. Vandals hit their home in Cypress and the home of the second employee, in Spring.

An investigator is looking into one of the cases of vandalism, but he wouldn't comment on any possible connection between the two attacks. He said it's much too early in both of the investigations to speculate on the motive in either.

The words spray painted onto Jule Brownfield's home are all very familiar to him.

"It's pretty specific," he said.

Tippy Toes is what colleagues at the Harris County Sheriff's Office used to call the former major.

"I did a lot of walking around, where I have a way of walking up a little bit, and so it's just a nickname," Brownfield explained.

On his garage door there's also a nickname for his former captain, Jay Coons. Early Friday morning in Montgomery County, that captain discovered vandals had targeted him too, attempting to set his Harris County Sheriff's vehicle on fire.

Brownfield claims it's not the first attack, but certainly the most serious against both men since last January. That's when Brownfield and Coons' ex-wife Kim Stelter filed a lawsuit against Harris County and Sheriff Adrian Garcia, claiming he wrongfully terminated them after his election. Now Brownfield believes there's evidence someone inside the sheriff's office is retaliating.

He said, "They have things that only someone in the sheriff's office would be able to know about."

Among those references is one to MASO -- the Mexican American Sheriff's Organization, which helped campaign for Sheriff Garcia's election.

Deputy Alberto Rivera with the Mexican American Sheriff's Organization said, "Why somebody would spray paint our name on there, I have no idea. But we don't condone that behavior."

Brownfield's wife Kathy hopes investigators can find out who is responsible, and put an end to this.

"It's just ugliness, and I don't understand why, but it really hurts," she said.

We tried to reach Sheriff Garcia, but we understand he is out of town. An attorney representing Brownfield and Statler said he hopes there is an internal investigation at the sheriff's office as well as an investigation at the district attorney's office. The DA's office wouldn't comment on whether they are involved in any of this.

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