Complaints Stemmed from Jan. 8 City Council Meeting

By Will Johnson
Messenger Reporter

CROCKETT – What started out as a simple “please don’t talk” in a Jan. 8 Crockett City Council meeting, took an unexpected turn earlier this month and turned the proverbial molehill into a mountain after Crockett residents Dr. Ianthia Fisher and Billy Groves lodged formal complaints against Crockett Police Chief David “Buddy” Cross.

The incident in question resulted in an investigation of the police chief by city officials. After the investigation ran its course, Cross provided written permission “… to release the outcome since all complaint investigations are considered confidential,” according to Crockett City Administrator John Angerstein.

“The complaint alleging ‘inappropriate behavior and conduct unbecoming an officer’ was reviewed by the Mayor, City Administrator and City Attorney and classified to be unfounded,” Angerstein stated in a media release received on Tuesday, Feb. 13.

Angerstein further expressed statements from third party participants at the meeting, along with video and audio recording of the meeting, were reviewed and determined to be in compliance with city policy as well as the Crockett Police Department Code of Conduct.

“It was determined that the Police Chief, David Cross acted on behalf of the mayor and council and within the scope of his duties by requesting Mrs. Ianthia Fisher and Mr. Billy Groves to not talk during the Council Meeting,” Angerstein concluded.

In the aforementioned meeting, Cross had instructed both Dr. Ianthia Fisher and her brother, Billy “Hollywood” Groves, to be quiet during Crockett Fire Chief Jason Frizzell’s monthly report.

Fisher and Groves were discussing an unrelated matter at a volume loud enough to be heard at the front of the room.

Crockett Police Chief David “Buddy” Cross

Following the meeting, Groves remarked he wanted to file a complaint against the police chief with City Administrator John Angerstein.

During the Feb. 5 meeting, Fisher brought up the matter once again. Reading from a prepared statement, Fisher said she was “… addressing this as a letter of complaint against Chief Buddy Cross for his inappropriate behavior and conduct unbecoming an officer to respect the rights of all citizens.”

Fisher commented she was shocked “… at the outburst he made during the presentation of the fire marshal (chief). His outburst was loud, unprovoked and can only be considered offensive while a comment was being made to me by my brother. He was seated next to me and commented the fire chief was doing a great job.”

She added, “The comment was in no way disruptive due to the fact he was sitting next to me in the back of the room. As he (Groves) was making the comment, I heard someone yell from the opposite side of the room – I’m not sure – but it was something to the effect of not talking. Maybe I missed something but it appeared we were discriminatorily singled out and disrespected with the sole intention to humiliate us.”

Following Fisher’s address, Groves also addressed the council concerning the same matter.

“I’m asking the council to put on the agenda to remove this guy – Buddy Cross – from the police chief. I wrote a letter and sent it to you (Crockett City Administrator John) Angerstein. I hope you and the council members discuss this and take it into consideration. We’re going to pass a petition, at some point, to have this guy removed,” Groves said.

In response to the allegations, the police chief issued a written statement on Monday, Feb. 12.

“On Jan. 8, I was in attendance at our monthly city council meeting. The meeting was in progress and Fire Chief Jason Frizzell was giving his monthly report. I heard two people talking loudly in the audience, who were identified as Ianthia Fisher and her brother, Billy Groves,” Cross stated.

Cross added he could see it was disturbing the presentation of the fire chief and thought “… they would stop at some point, but they did not. We could not hear what the Fire Chief was stating in his report in the (city council) chambers. I stood up and stated the following: ‘Can you please not talk during the meeting while he’s up there? Thank you.’”

In the statement, Cross stated he believed the complaint was an exaggeration and done by both Fisher and Groves for personal gain.

“Crockett PD has a current investigation involving Ianthia’s husband (former Crockett Police Chief Jimmy Fisher) for numerous alleged criminal violations stemming from an illegal and improper strip search of students at Crockett High School,” Cross asserted.

“This attack from her on me and our department is nothing more than an attempt to intimidate us from doing our job and investigating her husband any further,” he added. “We will continue that investigation and her actions will not have any effect on that ongoing criminal investigation.”

Cross also explained the verbal disruption of a public meeting is a Class B misdemeanor under the Texas Penal Code Sec. 42.05.

“My warning to the individuals advising them of their actions was appropriate and within a police officer’s duty,” he concluded.

Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at wjohnson@messenger-news.com.