A lawsuit filed by a former Taft Police Officer claims Taft City Manager Denise Hitt and former Police Chief Klaus Mansion worked to keep an assault investigation under wraps while threatening the officer’s career.
The officer, Shawn Wilson, claims in the lawsuit filed last week in San Patricio County, that Hitt "…seemed to be trying to cover-up …" an investigation into alleged assault against a 15-year-old boy at the hands of a Taft official, last year.
He further alleges that Mansion, who has since resigned as police chief, threatened to fire Wilson for pursuing the investigation.
Mansion did not fire Wilson. The lawsuit says one of Mansion’s successors did, and, placed a dishonorable discharge note in Wilson’s official file.
The lawsuit highlights an ongoing series of troublesome allegations surrounding Hitt, whom we featured last week after a series of social media messages from Hitt’s account to a private citizen offers cash in exchange for driving voters to the polls last November.
The messages,which 6 Investigates received from separate sources, also guaranteed a bonus if certain city council candidates won, including Mayor Pedro "Pete" Lopez. Hitt ignored our many requests for comment concerning the messages.
Wilson’s lawsuit claims Hitt and Mansion – and the City of Taft – retaliated against him and violated certain civil rights, including due process. His lawyer, Chris Gale, says Wilson filed the suit, " … in order to help Taft save itself … and, to protect other officers that seem to continually have problems with the City of Taft police department."
As for Hitt, she said she has not seen the lawsuit and therefore will not speak about it. Lopez said the same thing. There is no contact information for Mansion, who appears to have left the Coastal Bend since resigning.