KSLA Investigates: Alleged whistleblowing New Boston officer still fighting for his job

Tensions mount over New Boston, TX, police officer's dismissal
When asked about what is going on in New Boston, Police Chief Tony King refused to comment. (Source: KSLA News 12)
When asked about what is going on in New Boston, Police Chief Tony King refused to comment. (Source: KSLA News 12)

NEW BOSTON, TX (KSLA) - About 25 miles west of Texarkana lies the East Texas city New Boston.

It's a quiet place Jeff Arnold has called home his entire life.

"Great little town, great little town," he said while sitting on his front porch one recent afternoon.

But of late, the community's quiet life is getting disturbed by a controversy heating up over New Boston Police Chief Tony King and his decision to fire an officer who allegedly threatened to expose police misconduct .

"He thinks he's the boss of everybody," Bruce Dunbar, the dismissed officer's attorney, said of King.

Last month, the police chief fired veteran New Boston police Lt. Johnny Milwood.

Two weeks ago, Dunbar stood before the City Council claiming that King's dismissal of his client violates Texas law.

New Boston residents aired other allegations against the police chief during the meeting.

"We have received numerous complaints referencing Chief King not treating citizens of color fairly," Ed Williams, spokesman for Concerned Citizens of New Boston, said at that time.

"I've never been spoken to like I was spoken to by Tony King," Andrea Barfield said to the council that day.

Those claims led to:

  • City Council vote to put Milwood back on the police force, and,
  • a resolution asking the Texas Rangers to investigate King's department.

Two weeks later, Dunbar says King is ignoring the council's vote and refusing to file official papers with the state of Texas reinstating Millwood's license to be a cop.

And, according to Dunbar, no one at City Hall is telling the police chief to follow council orders.

"I think the chief is telling them, everyone, what he will and will not do," Dunbar said.

Wanting to find out what exactly is going on in New Boston, KLSA Investigates found King patrolling and asked him about the Milwood matter.

King refused to comment.

Down at City Hall, Mayor Johnny Brunson said he didn't know whether Milwood was getting reinstated.

The mayor went on to explain that the former lieutenant would get paid during the Texas Ranger investigation, but only as a city employee, because King - as police chief - is the person in charge of deciding Milwood's future as a New Boston cop.

"Our chief is the department head. We have the department heads here doing the hiring and firing," Brunson said.

The mayor also defended his decision against suspending the embattled police chief.

If the Texas Ranger investigation finds evidence of wrongdoing, Brunson said, he will suspend King.

"Yes, yes. Not only that, if he's done something that he needs to be terminated, he'll be terminated."

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