Former Crosby Mayor James Hunter Files Complaint For Defamation Against Members Of Crosby Police Department
Ed Shaw Law, on behalf of James Hunter, announced at a press conference today that a Complaint for Defamation has been filed against Former Police Chief Kim Coughlin and Former Lieutenant Kevin Randolph of the Crosby Police Department.
Hunter was elected as two-term Crosby Mayor in November of 2016. He was arrested in 2017 and charged with four felonies, theft by swindle, receiving stolen property, lawful gambling fraud, and second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon.
Hunter’s charges were tried separately, with each charge being addressed individually. He was acquitted of theft by swindle on June 27th, 2018; acquitted of second-degree assault on August 30th, 2018; dismissed of receiving stolen property on November 19th, 2018; acquitted of unlawful gambling on March 22nd, 2019, where the charge was lessened from a felony to a gross misdemeanor; also acquitted on March 22nd, 2019 of gambling on-premises which was added before the jury trial by the prosecution; dismissed of selling vehicle financing without a license on April 19th, 2019; and also dismissed of falsely reporting a crime on April 19th, 2019.
Hunter resigned from the mayor of Crosby in August of 2018 and ran for the position again in the November 2018 election, but lost.
In a press release submitted from the office of Attorney Edward R. Shaw, it was stated, “We are taking this action in an effort to hold Ms. Coughlin, Mr. Randolph and the leadership of the City of Crosby responsible for their systematic harassment of Mr. Hunter and the prosecution of Mr. Hunter based on accusations that they knew were false.”
“Ms. Coughlin, Mr. Randolph, and the leaders of the City of Crosby used public resources to engage in a campaign to prevent Mr. Hunter from becoming Mayor, and after Mr. Hunter became elected, to remove him from office and discredit him by using false accusations against him, Ms. Coughlin and Mr. Randolph acted in their official capacity using thousands of dollars of taxpayer staff time to attack Mr. Hunter for their own personal gain.”
At the press conference, held today at Ed Shaw Law, Shaw said, “Mr. Randolph and Mrs. Coughlin starting in the summer of 2016, as Mr. Hunter announced for mayor, began a campaign to try and pin an accusation on him to prevent him from becoming mayor and then once he got elected mayor, to force him to resign.”
“Mr. Randolph contacted media outlets to maximize visibility of the arrest, to do as much damage to Mr. Hunter,” said Shaw. “If this were happening in another country, it would be called a coup d’etat: you can not have the police or public officials undermining elected representatives, people have the right to choose the government in this country.”
For Hunter, the ordeal has been quite a long process.
“It’s very emotional because you try to do what’s right and even though you think everything out and you think you’ve done the right thing, people come against you,” said Hunter. “It makes you feel like, ‘did I do something wrong or did I not,’ so we went to the system, and the system says that I didn’t and I feel like every citizen should be able to stand up for what they believe in; it’s been terrible.”
As for a timetable on the lawsuit, it could take some time to develop.
“It’s a civil lawsuit, we have filed our complaint just yesterday, I expect the other side to file a response, they have 20 days by law to do it, then there will be what’s called a schedule and conference, probably 2 or 3 months from now, the judge will pick dates for a trial, probably won’t be looking at a trial to close from a year from now,” said Shaw
“I certainly hope we can come to a settlement, that the city can move on, can accept responsibility, that’s what I’d certainly hope for, but if they are not willing to do that we are prepared to go the distance here,” said Shaw.
Shaw concluded, “The people that did this, Mr. Randolph and Ms. Coughlin, and other leaders of the city of Crosby need to be held accountable and that’s why we filed this lawsuit.”