George Green, New Braunfels Lone Black Council Member, Files Racial Harassment Complaint After Receiving Racial Threats
SAN ANTONIO - New Braunfels police say they'd welcome an investigation into a racial harassment complaint reportedly filed with the Texas Rangers by George Green, the city's first and only black council member.
The Rangers declined to say if Green contacted them and Green has declined comment. But in recent emails to city officials, Green likened race relations in New Braunfels to those in Ferguson, Mo., said Mayor Barron Casteel.
"We have all the same ingredients brewing here. … We should address this at a local level before it explodes," Green said in an email to Casteel on Nov. 26.
That was two days after rioting broke out in several U.S. cities over a St. Louis County, Mo., grand jury's decision not to indict a white police officer who had fatally shot an unarmed black suspect three months prior.
In the email chain released Thursday by Casteel, the councilman said he had been targeted by racial threats. The mayor and City Manager Robert Camareno responded that racism isn't present among city workers and proposed a meeting with Green.
No such meeting occurred and Green apparently took his concerns to the Texas Rangers, Casteel said.
Police Chief Tom Wibert said Ranger James Jones interviewed Green last week to determine whether a formal investigation was warranted into Green's claims that he and members of his family had been mistreated by Wibert's department.
"I told the Ranger that I hope they do do an investigation," Wibert said. "I would find it very surprising if something was found."
He declined to detail any specific allegations leveled by Green, but said, "Our plan is to simply cooperate fully with the investigation."
Green wouldn't say Wednesday whether he considers racism to be a problem in New Braunfels, or if he'd contacted the Texas Rangers.
"I refuse to discuss it at this time," he said.
However, he wrote in his email to Casteel, "I need help. I am dealing with DWB (driving while black) issues, hiring discrimination issues in all sectors, especially schools, and racial threats to an elected official (myself) and little is done."
Green, a teacher who was elected to the city council in 2013, also wrote that he'd contacted the NAACP, which an official with the group's San Antonio chapter confirmed Thursday.
Casteel still thinks the best way to address Green's concerns is through open dialogue with Wibert, Camareno and the city's personnel staff, but expressed doubt that would occur while a possible criminal probe is pending.
"We feel confident that through open discussion that he will come to the same conclusion that we have, that discrimination is not present within the departments and administration of New Braunfels," the mayor said.
Green himself is now the subject of a criminal complaint alleging official oppression, filed last week by Warren Montague, president of the Comal County Fair Association.
Montague says Green abused his authority by demanding special parking privileges at the fair and, when denied, by instigating city inspections of electrical work done by the association at the city-owned fairgrounds. The episode in September already had led to an ethics complaint.
Green, denying wrongdoing, says he sought merely to protect the public and the city by requesting the inspections, which turned up no problems. He then proposed a compliance audit of the fair association's lease, which the council rejected on a vote of 6-1..
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