|White Collar Criminal Defense Attorney Philip Hilder quoted in Houston Chronicle article|
Deputy constables allege retaliation following Abercia indictment
|August 24, 2012 11:42 pm|
Two Harris County Precinct 1 deputies are suing Constable Kenneth Berry, accusing him of retaliation and harassment following a report the pair made to federal authorities that to led the indictment of former constable Jack Abercia.
According to the lawsuit filed Wednesday against Berry and Harris County, Precinct 1 Deputy Constable Mark Harrison and Sgt. Kevin Williams say they were both reassigned, demoted and harassed because they told the FBI about information implicating Abercia and two senior Precinct 1 officers in a bribery scheme and unauthorized use of a computer at the office.
"It was very obvious that there was a pattern and practice of retaliation against these two officers in Constable Berry's office for providing information to federal (law) enforcement authorities," said their attorney, Philip Hilder, who once represented Enron whistle blower Sherron Watkins.
The two deputies made a grievance appeal with the county and the Precinct 1 office about the actions. However, 61 days after the grievance was made, no final decision was given by officials and the pair chose to abandon the grievance procedures and file the lawsuit, according to court records.
Robert Soard, chief of staff for the Harris County Attorney's Office, said officials became aware of the suit Thursday afternoon. Soard said that his office is gathering more details about the lawsuit, but they intend to defend the constable and the county.
© 2012 Hearst Communications Inc.
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