Houston County Courier - Local News
Stories Added - July 2008
Copyright 2008 - Polk County Publishing Company

Allegations launch investigation
Houston County Courier - July 2008
By Daphne Hereford
Managing Editor

Allegations made against Houston County Sheriff’s Of­fice Deputy H.D. Gresham and another unnamed deputy by a Crockett man, Damien Taylor, have resulted in an investiga­tion reportedly led by the FBI.

According to Mystic Mat­thews, a reporter for KTRE Channel 9, Lufkin, the sta­tion’s news director was told that the “Crockett newspaper” was investigating an alleged incident that occurred in Crockett around noon on Fri­day, July 11 on Charles Street.

When assigned the story, Ms. Matthews was reportedly told the FBI, Texas Rangers, NAACP and Harry Fred Scott were investigating the case.

Ms. Matthews told Courier General Manager Jeannine Rhone early afternoon on Tuesday, July 15 the allega­tions suggested that Gresham and another deputy had as­saulted the 20-year-old Taylor and driven him to the county line from where he walked home.

The Tuesday night report on KTRE indicated that Taylor alleged a civil rights violation and that he had been tazed, kicked and beaten up by the deputies. The report also said that Crockett Police Depart­ment took statements from witnesses in the case, including photos from Gresham’s daughter Crystal, and turned all the information over to the Texas Rangers.

Arrest records from the Houston County Sheriff’s Of­fice Jail indicate that since August 2006 Taylor had been arrested and charged with bur­glary, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and providing false information.

Sources said that Taylor had been charged in the past with burglarizing Gresham’s home.

Chief Fisher told Mrs. Rhone Wednesday morning in a telephone interview that the Crockett Police Department is not investigating the matter and that witnesses in the case are being told to contact the Sheriff''s Office or the FBI in Tyler, since it is a civil rights is­sue.

In an interview with the Courier Wednesday morning HCSO Sheriff Darrel Bobbitt said, “On Tuesday, July 14, I was informed by one of my deputies that an alleged report had been made concerning one Damien Taylor.

“I was told that Taylor had reported that two other depu­ties had assaulted him.”
Bobbitt said the reporting deputy advised that he didn’t know all of the details but was just relaying what he had heard.

“The next day, still with no complainant coming forward, a representative from the Grapeland Messenger came to the sheriff’s office and advised that the Crockett Police De­partment had called for the pa­per to come to their office and they were given the informa­tion reported above. 

“The representative from the Messenger also told me that two witnesses of the alleged incident were brought to the Police Department and al­lowed to be questioned by the reporter.” 

“Apparently, Taylor had re­ported this to the Police De­partment, but as of Wednesday morning they have not called this office.”

Sheriff Bobbitt stated that from what he has been told, a report has been made and this investigation should be con­ducted by a neutral agency and let the evidence dictate the di­rection of the investigation. 

He stated that he had never heard of a law enforcement agency contacting the media and allowing the media to question their potential wit­nesses in an alleged open in­vestigation.

Bobbitt said whether this re­port is accurate or not, it seems that any potential evidence from statements that could have been vital may now be jeopardized or tainted.

Sheriff Bobbitt emphatically stated that his office would cooperate fully with any in­vestigation and looks forward to resolving this issue.

Sheriff Bobbitt said the two deputies remained on duty.

According to Garrett Floyd, FBI supervisor for the area, as of press time Wednesday morning there was no open case relating to the incident but an investigation will be conducted.




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