News6 Investigates

Actions

6 Investigates: “Who’s in charge in Aransas County?”

Posted: 4:37 PM, Jun 04, 2018
Updated: 2018-06-27 14:00:17-04

A Rockport Police Officer says his professional reputation is a casualty of the war between his department and the Aransas County District Attorney’s office.

Almost a year after ACDA Kristen Barnebey announced she would no longer be taking Rockport Police cases unless the department made some changes, Patrolman Chad Brooks tells 6 Investigates he’s building a lawsuit against Barnebey for comments he believes have defamed him.

Brooks is at the center of the dispute between police and the prosecutor’s office that has dragged on for almost a year and has gone through three mediators.

Now, after getting permission to speak on-the-record, Brooks says he did nothing to deserve being labeled "untrustworthy as a witness" by one of Barnebey’s prosecutors and ethically questionable by Barnebey.

Barnebey disagrees, calling Brooks out for a secret recording he made of a meeting between himself and a prosecutor, last summer. Brooks says he made the recording because he felt threatened – the prosecutor had recently accused him of being an uncoachable and untrustworthy witness on the stand. In it, the prosecutor coaches Brooks up on writing police reports and answering questions under oath, before threatening Brooks with a bad recommendation.

And in the middle of it all, a local lawyer we asked to weigh-in on the situation says the question Rockport and Aransas County voters should be asking is, "Who’s in charge?"

Lawyer Chris Gale says it is not uncommon for prosecutors and police to disagree from time to time, but that there’s no excuse for a dispute like this to drag on for so long. He said if he was the County Commissioner, he’d be demanding solutions, or, resignations.

"You need to protect us…y’all need to figure something out if you can’t protect us, I’ll find somebody who can."