Coffee City alderman sues Coffee City

Coffee City alderman sues Coffee City

The City of Coffee City and former Police Chief Ray Threadgill are being sued in Federal court in the Eastern District of Texas by one of the city's aldermen.

In a filing dated September 8, 2013, Place #2 Alderman Don Weaver alleges civil rights violations on the part of the police department and negligence on the part of the city for allowing those violations to take place.

The lawsuit was not on the city council's agenda Monday night, but Mayor Ray Wakeman called the meeting to order and immediately adjourned to closed session with Mayor Pro Tem Pam Drost and Aldermen Ruthie Seward and Phil Rutledge.

Weaver waited in the council chamber while the rest of the group discussed the lawsuit with the city attorney for approximately 45 minutes.

After the meeting, weaver agreed to an interview regarding his lawsuit.

"It's been over two years now [since] I served as a juror on a turn-signal violation [case]," Weaver said. "It all stemmed from that and you would not think something so minor would stretch on for so long."

Weaver's time on that Municipal Court jury ended with his own arrest in September of 2011. He was accused of jury tampering via three different charges and eventually pleaded no contest on a single lesser charge.

Now he wants his record wiped clean.

"Nothing is very simple," Weaver said. "Everything takes a long time and the longer it takes, the more money it takes."

Weaver maintains that he is completely innocent of misconduct during his service on that jury.

The record expunction process itself requires no lawsuit. But weaver said the suit is necessary to recoup the thousands of dollars he has spent on the initial case and on the expunction attempt.

Weaver is not sure how much he has spent. He estimated $15,000. However, the filing asks for $500,000 in addition to unspecified punitive damages.

"That's news to me. I didn't know that," Weaver said. "I haven't seen the suit."

The filing accuses police of not having probable cause for the arrest and showing an indifference to Weaver's civil rights. It accuses the city of failure to provide adequate supervision or training to the officers involved.

Asked about the perceived conflict of interest involved in suing the city he represents, Weaver said it was essentially an accident of timing. He was not in office when the alleged offenses occurred.

"I can see why they would be concerned but there again I was talking about the timeframe," he said. "I didn't choose the particular timeframe. I didn't choose the thing to begin with."

The mayor and the rest of the city council left quickly after the meeting, and made no comment about the lawsuit. The city's attorney did not immediately return phone calls from CBS 19.

Threadgill is no longer employed by the city.

The Texas Attorney General's office confirmed Monday that no law prohibits a city representative from suing his or her own city.


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