Monday, May 14, 2012

Ex-Ranger targeted in negative campaign tactic

Plemons camp alleges racism

“You ain't got but one riot...” – a legendary Texas Ranger

Waco – One day in 1994 – 18 long years ago – two Texas Rangers were shooting the breeze, talking shop.

Both were – ah, let's say – disappointed about the command structure's response to an edict of then-Governor Ann Richards', a new policy on the gender politics of one of the world's famed, most elite law enforcement agencies.

The Texas Rangers would have not one, but two female members. Period.

In private telephone conversation, they both said they did not like it. Apparently, they did not mince words.

A neighbor picked up Ranger Matt Cawthon's end of the conversation on the police scanner as he chatted on his cordless phone about the enormity of the Department of Public Safety elevating a former trooper of the driver's license bureau, a woman who had been promoted to the job of college campus recruiter, to the status of working behind the coveted 100-peso piece badge of a Texas Ranger.

The neighbor made a recording of the conversation and turned it over to an internal affairs division of DPS.

“They took an unqualified driver's license technician – a woman who had never arrested anyone in her life, and passed over DPS Troopers who were qualified to become a Ranger,” he recalls. “There were no racial slurs on the tape recording.”

The result was overkill, to say the least. In an internal hearing, the department sentenced Ranger Cawthorn to six months of probationary status.

“It was not a legal proceeding. It was not a violation of the law. It was a policy at stake, here,” he emphasizes. “I didn't say anything about the woman's race.”

The lady in question, on that day so long ago, is black.

Following six months of treading very lightly on eggshells, he was restored to the full status of his employment as a Ranger, and went on to retire with honors after an eventful career.

Among the honors, in 1999, the U.S. Congress named him National Police Officer of the year; every June 15, by proclamation of the City of Waco, the town observes “Matt Cawthon Day.”

He still sounds outraged when he reminisces. “You and I have the right to a private conversation. My freedom of speech was violated. At the time, I was off duty, in my own home.”

Nevertheless, the Rangers hold their own to a higher standard, and it's for a good reason.

All the old tales are true. When they send for a Ranger, it means the chips are down – always.

The original scheme worked out in the Austin Colony at Nacogdoches and in The Republic of Texas still stands true. A Ranger is ordered by the Colonel, his Captain, or maybe the Governor himself, to go to a certain County. Assess the situation. Find out what is needed. Contact the Sheriff.

The Sheriff is expected to round up his deputies and the posse, get everyone organized, and do what the Ranger says it's necessary to do to preserve the public safety and avenge offenses against the peace and dignity of the People of the State of Texas.

We're talking attacks by marauding Apaches and off the reservation Comanches. We're talking range wars over fence cutting and water rights. We're talking private armies, drugs and public officials running roughshod over the law in corruption cases, cattle rustling, horse thievery, serial murder, riots. Let's not forget forays up the highways of the state by renegade Mexican Army units who have deserted their special ops units to run drugs for the cartels.

It be that way – some days; they don't take it lightly.

Retired, Ranger Matt Cawthon is now tasked to the fugitive division of the Institutional Division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. He is seconded to the Fugitive Warrants Task Force of the U.S. Marshal's Service.

He has the same job retired Ranger Frank Hamer had on the depression-darkened day he and a posse of Dallas law men shot down Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker with Browning Automatic Rifles - just like the ones they had stolen from a west Texas National Guard Armory - on a lonely stretch of road near Arcadia, Louisiana.

The Colonel of the TDC had retained Ranger Hamer to avenge the death of a riding boss whom the desperados shot off his horse at Eastham Unit early one morning when they came to break their running buddy Raymond Hamilton out of the pen. Mr. Hamilton was the only one who could put them on the scene of the murder of Hillsboro jeweler and pawn shop operator Lloyd Bucher in an armed robbery.

It was the couple's first killing. It wouldn't be their last. By the time Hamer and his posse put a stop to their ways, 14 people had gone down, 9 of them police officers.

It's that kind of thing.

It always is.

Ranger Cawthon says they are fibbing.


  1. A man who would lie to get a job, will lie to keep his job. It's been pointed out time and time again that Lynch and Plemons do almost nothing but lie. McLennan County even sent them both to school to learn how to do it better as negotiators. Lynch and Plemons contradict each other and all information available on them and their desk jockey careers. They know they don't have the support of the people, so they are going to keep fighting dirty, because it's only on that level they have more experience then McNamara.

    I can believe they would go after McNamara, and when they couldn't find any dirty on him, they'd make some up to try to balance the actual facts that Plemons has lied about. I can't believe when they couldn't find any dirty on McNamara, that they would go after Ranger Cawthon, not once, but twice. In Lynch and Plemons camp, known as the pigsty because that's how dirty they are, are they next going to start taking shots at Parnell's family. I mean how low will Plemons and Lynch continue to sink. It's not wonder the public wants them out. I even heard they have bought off and promised Trib editors to buy Plemons another endorsement, but some of the Trib editors could not be bought.

  2. Lynch and Plemons needs to be investigated but to many payoffs in this county.

  3. I personally know and have seen Lynch and Plemons dirty antics for years. However, they still continue to amaze even me with the extent that they will go to in order to win. They have no morals, ethics, integrity, or brains! They are completely disgusting, and the people that are following them are equally disgusting.

    Randy and Larry, have you ever heard of losing with grace and dignity? Obviously, you have none. Parnell should run a commercial with a muddy little pig running around squealing, portraying Randy Plemons!

  4. You're right, Lynch and Plemons have gone around for years paying off people, businesses, the local media.
    They are as dirty as it gets. When there finally is an investigation, they should be in jail for everything illegal that they have done.

  5. Plemons and Lynch used these tactics with the Nurse who blew the whistle on them years ago. They stalked her and had deputies harassing her day and night. They staked out her house and used these terror tactics back then just as they are now. I've been to a few of Parnell's events and it was always a game of spot the deputy. Many times, Lynch and Plemons would have a deputy set up "running radar" with viewing of the event. It wouldn't matter if it was by a busy intersection on a deserted county road. And sometimes, they would even put down the binocular and turn the radar on.

    I can't believe the paper hasn't picked up on the dirty tactics being used by Plemons. I can't see how the paper ignores Plemons dirty politics, oh wait, I forgot, they have people who's been promised jobs by Plemons. It's the only way Plemons can get support to promise jobs to everyone and their grandmother. Currently, I think he's up to 3 Chief Deputies, and almost a dozen Captains. Lynch did the same thing, and 12 years later, there are still only 1 Cheif Deputy and 3 Captains. Good luck collecting on a Plemons promise.

  6. I wonder if Plemons and his people are busy taking names of people on Facebook supporting Parnell so they can make up dirt on each of them. Or perhaps they are too busy tearing down Parnell signs and tossing the pieces in a ditch. Or maybe they are moving signs around at the polling place, since I saw some Plemons supporter, red haired lady moving a Parnell sign yesterday morning, while a grey haired Sheriff Deputy watched her do it. That's illegal!! Don't they have video cameras up there? I'd be interested to see that woman and deputy identified and arrested.

  7. I know what it's like to live in county & not feel safe because you have to depend on the Sheriff's department or Highway patrol as your only source of law enforcement & you KNOW you can't depend on either. I am VERY concerned, almost SURE, that will be McLennan County if Plemons is elected. It's horrifying thought & I refuse to relive that nightmare.

  8. Wow!! Plemons and Lynch are targeting friends and family of Parnell McNamara. And I didn't think they could sink any lower then they already had. With allegations of them running Plemons campaign at the Sheriff's Office with county employees doing Plemons campaign work on the taxpayers dime. That's highly illegal. I know I called up there about a month ago, and was asked about placing a Plemons sign in my yard by the receptionist. To see how far it would go, I asked if they had any big ones. She said she had to check with the Sheriff. I could hear him in the background telling her that he just ordered more. I asked to speak with Plemons, and she said he was unavailable because he was out campaigning. Of course this was during one of the infamous times he was unavailable to attend Commissioners Court to answer questions about the budget he so proudly "administrated into a $1.8 million blackhole.

  9. AUSTIN -- Two members of the Texas Rangers were reprimanded last year for allegedly making racial and sexual slurs against a female officer, according to records released Wednesday.
    The documents, obtained by The Associated Press under the Texas Open Records Act, were released one day after the Public Safety Commission cleared the elite law enforcement agency of a separate sexual harassment charge.

    The records show that Ranger Sgts. Matt Cawthon of Waco and Jim Denman of Garland were suspended with pay for more than four months during the investigation and then placed on six months' probation for remarks made about Ranger Sgt. Christine Nix, who is black. Cawthon also said Nix would be a disgrace to the Rangers because she was married to a white man, according to a sworn affidavit filed by Davila. He further charged that Cawthon made a racial slur against Hispanics

  10. Mr. Steakley said under oath in open court that Lynch and Plemons had been given Cawthon's personal and financial records. Both denied having those records to the paper, but Lynch is also quoted as saying that he put them in his desk drawer. Cawthon, owned up and has since made his peace with Nix and according to her, had a good working relationship.

    I do remember reading in the paper months back about Plemons claiming that he would take the high road, yet he's done nothing but sling mud. He made a promise that he was going to stand on his record. Of course those that actually know Plemons know talking to kids for 12 years and sitting behind a desk getting Lynch coffee, doesn't make for much a record to stand on. But I guess Plemons has learned the secret to being Sheriff under Lynch's instructions, 2 sugars no cream. It only took him 12 years to get that right.

  11. Why would they even go after Ranger Cawthon anyway? He's not the one running. I guess when a candidate doesn't have the actual experience or only gives the runaround when asked questions, never actually answering them, the only thing he can do is bash anyone connected to Parnell McNamara. I guess Plemons will start going after Parnell's family next. What a cowardly thing to do. This Plemons guy is real scum. I am ashamed of anyone taken in by his negative campaign and avoidance of any issues such as how is he going to solve the Sheriff's Office over budget problem, oh yeah, he won't attempt to forecast that. Ignoring the problem, great administrative skills.