Galveston police chief under investigation

November 15, 2010 3:02:38 AM PST
An investigation into the Galveston Police Department is targeting the police chief and the former internal affairs investigator. It all has to do with new changes in the department. This all started in August with the announcement of a budget cut and layoffs of Galveston police officers and firefighters. That created a firestorm of controversy. At the center of it now is Galveston Police Chief Charles Wiley who is accused of bullying his own officers into silence.

As word of potential job cuts spread, the Galveston Municipal Police Association stepped in, trying publicly to urge city leaders to cut the budget elsewhere.

According to this lawsuit, their intervention was interrupted by "repeated threats and intimidation" from Chief Wiley, who emailed the entire department threatening actions supporting the union would "result in swift and certain disciplinary action."

The lawsuit states Chief Wiley even hushed one police officer who showed up at a city council meeting to complain about the layoffs. When the police department's then-internal investigations head Michael Gray turned over his findings to the District Attorney's Office about that case in October, he was demoted.

"This complaint was handled just like any other complaint. That's what got Sgt. Gray into hot water - trying to investigate this complaint just like any other," said Tom Gaylor of the Texas Municipal Police Association.

Gray agreed to meet with us, but declined to give an on-camera statement on the advice of his attorney. He did tell me he went to work Thursday, was ordered to turn over evidence of that investigation and destroy anything left over.

Gray says it seemed unusual, and when the 10-year veteran of the department asked for that order in writing, he was stripped of his command and transferred because of it. He was demoted due to budget cuts.

We went to Chief Wiley's home to ask him about Gray's case, but no one answered the door.

The police union says its members have the right to work "free from threats, force, intimidation and coercion," and call the actions against Gray retaliation for questioning the chief's authority.

"We feel like we've got a real problem there in Galveston with the chief of police and it needs to be addressed," Gaylor said.

Late Sunday afternoon, the police chief did call back, but only told us he "could not comment on personnel matters."

In the meantime, Gray says he'll fight to get back to work and to find out why he's being investigated by the same division he used to lead at the Galveston Police Department.


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