Terminated PD chief tells Only 13 he's fighting back after claiming to be 'nitpicked' by Eagle Lake

Mycah Hatfield Image
Tuesday, June 20, 2023
Former Eagle Lake police chief fires back days after termination
Former Eagle Lake police Chief Kris Abbott believes he was wrongfully terminated after being accused of covering up officers' alleged bad behavior. Abbott told ABC13 he plans to file a lawsuit against the city.

EAGLE LAKE, Texas (KTRK) -- The former police chief of Eagle Lake believes he was wrongfully terminated and plans to file a lawsuit against the city.

Kristopher Abbott was given his termination letter on June 14 just over a year of serving as chief. It lists nine policy violations that the city manager said a third-party investigator found he committed. The chief was suspended in March while the investigation played out.

Of those violations, four had to do with former police officer Christopher Cannon.

Within a month of being hired, a woman contacted the city manager, Charles "Tink" Jackson, the mayor, and Abbott, alleging Cannon was married to two women at the same time.

"I started the investigation," Abbott said. "Jackson came in and handled that entire investigation."

READ MORE: Claims of bigamy, false documents made against former police officer in Colorado County after arrest

Jackson agreed that Abbott conducted an investigation and said he presented Jackson with a letter saying Cannon should be cleared of wrongdoing. He said the chief of police had not done a thorough investigation so he conducted one of his own.

Abbott's "deficient" investigation into the matter is one of the reasons listed for his termination.

The former chief believes Jackson took over the investigation because he was taking control of personnel issues within Eagle Lake.

Jackson was hired in September 2022.

An email in December from Jackson to Abbott, the city secretary and public works, outlines how hiring, firing and investigations, and discipline of city employees should be handled. The city manager detailed that he should be involved in all of it. It said he could decide whether to investigate complaints made against city employees or designate someone else to. Ultimately, he would have to sign off on the findings and any discipline.

Abbott believes it is because Jackson wants control.

READ MORE: Eagle Lake PD chief fired over cover-up allegations

Jackson said the city's ordinances detail those duties as part of his job role.

The termination letter also said that the chief was not truthful to Jackson regarding conversations he had with other county leaders regarding possible charges of bigamy against Cannon. It also states Abbott provided false information to the Weimar Police Department about Cannon. They hired him shortly after he was fired from Eagle Lake and said he was terminated in February upon learning about his pending criminal charges.

Abbott is also accused of hiding from city leadership deficiencies in five of his eight officers' files with the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement. An audit conducted in February 2023 found certain documentation either missing or not complete in the officers' files. Abbott said many of the issues were corrected the day he learned about it.

"This is like nitpicking every little thing," Abbott said. "Trying to make a mountain out of a molehill."

Jackson also noted in the letter that it is believed Abbott did not run criminal histories on two officers prior to hiring them.

"All background checks have to go before the city manager to be approved before any hiring can be done by him," Abbott said. "It's not me hiring people, not doing background checks. It's all things that he's doing that he's doing that he's trying to make me a scapegoat for."

Abbott said he was not surprised that he was terminated but was caught off guard by "how false" the allegations against him were. He said he has never been reprimanded at any other department during his decades working in law enforcement.

He said he plans to file a defamation suit against the city.

Jackson said he stands behind what has happened so far and said he would let the termination letter speak for itself.

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