Kevin Lawrence, executive director of the Austin-based police association, said that it is rare for the organization to speak publicly about matters involving police officers, calling it a “last resort.”.
Baker, who was hired as police chief in 2017, was fired in June after mayor Alan Hooks accused him of “flipping off” a water department worker and “unprofessional behavior” toward other employees.
“You’ve got a police chief who is a good, decent individual who is getting punished for doing the right thing. We try our level best not to speak out on anything unless it’s the last resort,” Lawrence told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Baker is suing the city for wrongful termination.
In his lawsuit, Baker alleged that Blue Mound violated the Texas Whistleblower Act by firing him in retaliation for reporting that officials were misusing crime control district funds by putting the money in the city’s general fund, asking officers to write more citations to bring in revenue and tampering with a government when a person on social security benefits was hired to trim trees.
He claims the checks were deposited into the spouse’s account so that the income wouldn’t get reported to the government.
Blue Mound’s mayor Alan Hooks has denied the allegations, stating that Baker was fired because of unprofessional conduct.
Baker contacted the Tarrant County District Attorney’s office, the Texas Rangers and the Texas Comptroller’s office to report his concerns.
The suit also stated that Baker contacted a prosecutor in the white-collar crime division of the district attorney’s office, regarding the accusation of tampering with a government document, but Samantha Jordan, a spokeswoman for the Tarrant County District Attorney’s office, said she can’t comment on whether there is an investigation.
“I can only say that there is not a case filed with our office,” Jordan said.
Lawrence said that “cities adopt civil service to take politics out of law enforcement. But there are people who have political connections who think rules don’t’ apply to them if we allow those influences that means the citizens lose. It’s not police officers that need due process, citizens need due process.”
“You can’t fire somebody for being a whistleblower. There are limits to the at will employment doctrine. I think small towns are missing out on that.”