Laid-off black deputies claim discrimination in Shelby Co. - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Laid-off black deputies claim discrimination in Shelby Co.

CENTER, TX (KTRE) -

As customary, when there's a new sheriff in town, new staff follows. Newly elected Shelby County Sheriff Willis Blackwell is no different.

"As of Dec. 31 no one here had a job," Blackwell said.

Everyone reapplied for their jobs, including two African-American deputies. Neither got their job back. Both claim racial discrimination.

"I'm claiming it because I just feel like, you know, if there's a problem he could have came and talked to me," Lester Pitts said. "We could have talked with each other."

Pitts shares Curtis Archie's public complaint that there are no longer any African-Americans patrolling Shelby county. The pastor and licensed peace officer says that's dangerous.

"Blacks knows blacks," Archie said. "Blacks know black ways."

There are minorities in the sheriff's department working in the jail and dispatch. The sheriff says that makes the department qualify AS an equal-opportunity employer.

Blackwell let six people go, including a woman. He followed the recommendation of an interview panel that he personally selected.

"It's my ultimate decision to decide who represents me the best and who is the least liability for me," Blackwell said. "And the choice I made is the ones I'm going to stick by and that's the way it's gonna be."

Citizens are concerned of a return to racial division, just like in the 60s.

"Here it is 40 years later, we don't have proper representation," Wendell Johnson said.

For now, Archie is ready to become a full-time pastor. Pitts is applying with other law enforcement departments. Becoming a peace officer is his lifelong ambition.

No discrimination lawsuits have been filed, but the men are in conversation with human rights organizations. They also have the support of African-American church congregations.

Copyright 2013 KTRE. All rights reserved.

  • East Texas NewsMore>>

  • Defense questions investigator in third day of Henderson trial

    Defense questions investigator in third day of Henderson trial

    Friday, September 22 2017 7:19 PM EDT2017-09-22 23:19:49 GMT
    James Henderson's defense attorney, Stanley Sokolowski, started off the third day of court by questioning the state's witness, Investigator Bill Rulland. The cross examination lasted most of the morning and even a little into the afternoon. According to Investigator Michael Molnes, with the Houston County Sheriff's Office, Sokolowski attempted to discredit Brenna Theuer's witness testimony, as well as testimony from Robert Mobley.  The trial is expected to head into closing arg...More >>
    James Henderson's defense attorney, Stanley Sokolowski, started off the third day of court by questioning the state's witness, Investigator Bill Rulland. The cross examination lasted most of the morning and even a little into the afternoon. According to Investigator Michael Molnes, with the Houston County Sheriff's Office, Sokolowski attempted to discredit Brenna Theuer's witness testimony, as well as testimony from Robert Mobley.  The trial is expected to head into closing arg...More >>
  • Tar-covered tires stick to parking lot of Lufkin tire shop

    Tar-covered tires stick to parking lot of Lufkin tire shop

    Friday, September 22 2017 7:09 PM EDT2017-09-22 23:09:01 GMT
    More than a few tar-covered tires are hanging on to the parking lot of a Lufkin tire shop.  On August 31, newly laid asphalt on Loop 287 started sticking to tires of those driving, leaving many of the cars un-driveable. As of Friday, the Texas Department of Transportation hadn't come out with an official cause for the incident, but that hasn't stopped over 600 people from filing claims with them. Copyright 2017 KTRE. All rights reserved.More >>
    More than a few tar-covered tires are hanging on to the parking lot of a Lufkin tire shop.  On August 31, newly laid asphalt on Loop 287 started sticking to tires of those driving, leaving many of the cars un-driveable. As of Friday, the Texas Department of Transportation hadn't come out with an official cause for the incident, but that hasn't stopped over 600 people from filing claims with them. Copyright 2017 KTRE. All rights reserved.More >>
  • Trinity County traffic stop results in 2 felony drugs arrests. seizure of weed, codiene, other drugs

    Trinity County traffic stop results in 2 felony drugs arrests. seizure of weed, codiene, other drugs

    Friday, September 22 2017 6:19 PM EDT2017-09-22 22:19:50 GMT

    Deputies with the Trinity County Sheriff’s Office made two felony drug arrests and seized marijuana, Prometh VC with codeine, hydrocodone, Alprazolam, and ecstasy after a traffic stop near the intersection of Robb and Jefferson streets late Tuesday night.

    More >>

    Deputies with the Trinity County Sheriff’s Office made two felony drug arrests and seized marijuana, Prometh VC with codeine, hydrocodone, Alprazolam, and ecstasy after a traffic stop near the intersection of Robb and Jefferson streets late Tuesday night.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly