US Attorney Malcolm Bales announces Jacksonville, TX drug raids with Dallas FBI, Sheriff James Campbell, and District Attorney Rachel Patton. (Source: April 1, 2015 Jacksonville Progress)
Like a lot of areas in backwoods East Texas, Cherokee County law enforcement illegally wiretaps and intercepts telephone conversations to conduct drug raids. For providing this information to outside agencies such as the FBI and Narcotics Task Forces, as well as assisting on drug cases for the US Attorney's office, these small towns are given carte blanche access to any and every private citizen's personal and business phone conversations. In fact, they are publicly rewarded for violating federal law like they do in 3rd World countries. They are advised to deny it, lie about it, and continue to provide as much information with as little legwork as possible. The Cherokee County Sheriff's Department records phone calls to blackmail political opponents and quash dissent among their Good Ol' Boy and Gal network. They catalog the locals' extramarital affairs within the District Attorney's office and hold each other by the balls for Grand Jury selection. And these folks have been screwing each other like rabbits since their High School days.
Who is cheating on whom these days?
With the ousting of outsider Rachel Patton for ruffling their feathers and with Elmer Beckworth returning to the District Attorney's office in a few weeks, the uninformed public can expect the Night of the Long Knives to come out in full force. When one of them is caught not towing the County line, the fingers start pointing, the accusations start to fly, and the misdirections are set up like traffic cones to mislead the public. Following in Beckworth's footsteps they blame the other for their own actions.
Wife swapping and wiretapping? Who's spying on whom?
In an open City Council meeting on July 14, 2016 the Rusk Police Department accused longtime Rusk City Manager Mike Murray of "illegal wiretapping." Lt. Brad George of the Rusk PD and others also accused Murray of "retaliation against the police force." City council has requested a Texas Rangers investigation during back-to-back closed sessions. (Source: KETK) Murray, the local police department, TDC Skyview, and the Sheriff's Dept. had worked together for decades without dissent. The internal feud is said to have started after the handling of assault charges against the Volunteer Fire Chief earlier this year. Nepotism between the Cherokee County Sheriff and his son the Rusk Chief of Police, and their extralegal means of small town social control is on full display for the local media.
Clocking in at 300 + lbs., it is highly unlikely Mr. Murray is capable of scaling telephone poles and running outlaw phone drops throughout the county to eavesdrop on local drug dealers, lonely wives, and the families of his political opponents; however Sheriff Campbell's deputies and those related to law enforcement are paid to do so.
Illegal phone tapping in Rusk City Hall
Cherokee County newspapers refuse to mention the reason for the Texas Rangers investigation into Mike Murray and the charge of ILLEGAL PHONE TAPPING that Rachel Patton has recommended to the Texas Attorney General. Instead they focus on a fictitious claim of low morale among the police department and city employees for the reason Murray has been placed on paid administrative leave. (Source: Daily Progress) It takes reports from Tyler and Longview to shine the light on the common Cherokee County practice of "illegally wiretapping phone conversations." (Source: KETK)
OK, boys and girls, let's play a game called "Follow the Logic..."
- Teenage boys driving around on New Year's Eve amuse themselves by tossing a firecracker near a local fireworks stand operated by the Rusk Volunteer Fire Chief, Donald Lankford.
- Pissed off Fire Chief jumps in his car and in a high speed chase into neighboring Anderson County, cuts them off several times, pulls them over and roughs up the pranksters.
- Fire Chief is charged with misdemeanor assault in Anderson County; pranksters are let off with a warning.
- Fire Chief continues to work at the Rusk, TX Fire Dept. while his case is aired on local television; some reports say he is suspended for 6 months, others say he is still employed. (Source: KETK)
- A "rift develops" between the City of Rusk Police Department and the City Manager according to some accounts.
- During an open Rusk City Council session in late July, the Rusk PD accuses City Manager of illegally tape recording phone conversations ; Rusk City Council asks the Texas Rangers to intervene and continues to hold closed door hearings to keep prying eyes out of personal vendettas.
Break the Law- Keep your TCLEOSE license and your pension.
In yet another example of unaccountability, veteran Cherokee County Sheriff Deputy Donald Williams is asked to quietly retire July 29, 2016 after the Texas Rangers investigate a June 21st incident in Alto, TX. Unlike in other venues throughout the state, no explanation is given to reporters or required by the locals. In fact, they'll pretend Deputy Williams never even worked there or helped get their cousins elected. Fall housekeeping is in full swing with the Texas Rangers in town to maintain the status quo.