Hunting The Rogue Rangers

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A federal grand jury has now subpoenaed records from the Nacogdoches County Sheriff as complaints of alleged mistreatment of prisoners mount. A new civil rights lawsuit was filed late today over another case where county officials are hiding video of the incident. We’ve been investigating whether Texas Rangers in both Nacogdoches and Lufkin ignored the allegations while they were doing the bidding of local DAs with a political agenda.

“Ranger hicks, I’m Wayne Dolcefino. How are you” asked Wayne Dolcefino.

We finally caught up with one of the Texas Rangers accused of being a rogue Ranger.

“I’d like to ask you, why did you ignore complaints about abuse in the Nacogdoches County jail? Why did you ignore those complaints,” asked Wayne.

Joseph Hanzich is set for trial for spitting on a prison guard.

But Nacogdoches County attorney John Fleming doesn’t want you to see the video of the incident and it’s not the only jail house record he’s trying to hide; you’ve got to ask yourself why.

Mr. Fleming, I’m just going to take a minute of your time. I would appreciate you stopping to talk to me. Don’t you think the taxpayers of Nacogdoches County have a right to know,” asked Wayne.

He obviously doesn’t, but in a sworn affidavit after he finally watched the video himself, Hanzich says he was punched in the face repeatedly for no reason then put in a choke hold.

“They threw me to the ground, out of nowhere. I was just walking; they slam me on the ground. Three of them. Two of them were punching me and my head was on the ground,” recalls Hanzich.

Joseph says he was then wrestled into this restraint chair, and then injected by someone with something. He then had a seizure.

Joseph had gone to jail after threatening his dad, but they both want the truth out about what happened inside.

“Would you like that video to be made public,” asks Wayne, “sure” replied Hanzich.

“Should that video be made public,” asks Wayne, and Hanzich replied “yes.”

This jailhouse horror was taken to a Texas Ranger, James Hicks. He never investigated.

But Hicks was in Nacogdoches answering questions under oath about another case, another alleged jailhouse attack.

“Why did you ignore those complaints,” asks Wayne.  

Cory Roland had gone to Hicks for help after this happened that sheriff’s office incident.

“He said he was going to look into, and he never got back with me again,” states Roland.  Wayne asks, “Never talked with him again?” “Never heard from him again,” replied Roland.

((ktre video on jail – 0:00 nats too many inmates not enough money and not enough staff)) WHO IS THE REPORTER?

Local TV stations serving the oldest town in Texas have reported on the need for a better county jail. The prisoner population is wrecking the town’s budget.

But the local newspaper has ignored the civil rights complaints, the multiple lawsuits, admissions of suspected wiretapping in the jail.

((nats of wayne’s last report))

Even our well-publicized report in March of an FBI investigation, we shared the info with the newspaper in advance.  Silence.

“Are you aware of the justice department investigation, asks Wayne then says, “nice chatting with you.”

County attorney john Fleming ignored our questions but he knew then the feds were investigating…

Here’s the proof, a grand jury subpoena delivered to the sheriff’s office six days earlier. The county attorney didn’t want you to see this.

The FBI now wants to see all the video and reports related to the assault on Cory Roland. When he volunteered to come to the sheriff’s office to answer questions about property stolen by another individual.

Body camera video of the incident shows a deputy repeatedly hitting Roland in the face, while trying to take his phone. There was no search warrant …everyone denies Roland was even hit in the face… but video doesn’t lie…

“You see the punches on the video. You’re a civil rights lawyer. What does it tell you,” asks Wayne.

“A rare, blatant, visible example of what we call constitutional civil rights violations,” replied Anderson.

The also requested complaints, personnel records, and policies of the sheriff’s office in the wake of several complaints of abuse ignored by Texas Rangers.

Hicks is now under internal investigation and getting heat on multiple fronts.

First, he’s accused of ignoring, even protecting, the Nacogdoches sheriff’s office from abuse claims. At the same time targeting political opponents of the local DA.

“The Rangers refer these jailhouse cases right back to the department where the alleged abusers work, they also have to ask local DA’s to pretty much investigate anything,” states Wayne.

“Texas rangers should not be used for political purposes period,” states Fernandez.

That’s why Peter’s story is so alarming.

Fernandez helped roll out a campaign website exposing the past DWIs of Nacogdoches County DA Andrew Jones, kind of mean, but true.

Fernandez says Jones demanded the site be taken down, minutes later Ranger Hicks showed up to interrogate him.

More than three years later the DPS claims hicks is still investigating.

“Were you a tool of the das office in the Fernandez case,” asks Wayne.

“I would like that Ranger to be fired,” states Fernandez.

We are not quite sure why Hicks was assigned as a lead investigator in that controversial corruption investigation down in Angelina County because he’s assigned to police three different counties. The news from Nacogdoches is resonating in Lufkin twenty two miles away.

“What does that do to his testimony in your case,” asks Wayne. Paulette replies, “well I think it shakes his credibility.”

Former Angelina County commissioner Rodney Paulette was indicted for a misdemeanor violation of the Texas open meetings act, later for allegedly misusing county equipment to fix private property.

We looked closely at the more serious charge, there’s just no evidence Paulette asked for or got a dime from the property owners. He was in fact, repairing the damage done by bad county drainage.

It was Ranger Hicks who did the interrogation.

“He wanted a confession, but I didn’t confess to something that didn’t happen,” said Paulette.

From the very beginning of our Angelina County asphalt investigation there was something that just didn’t pass the smell test.

Every single public official indicted in Angelina County by DA Janet Cassels were big supporters, like most voters, of a plan to take away power to control paving work away from county commissioners and giving it to an engineer to coordinate the whole county. It’s called a unit road system.

Before then, commissioners seemed to fix the roads they felt like, the records were lousy… if they existed at all.

But asphalt is a key to power for these county commissioners. Paulette was one who voted to take the power away from commissioners, including himself, and he was a big critic of DA Janet Cassels budget, the constant turnover in her office, and her failure to take criminal cases to trial.

All reasons why the DA should have recused herself from any criminal investigation of Paulette.

“You’re a big political opponent of hers, do you think that’s why you’re still in trouble,” asks Wayne. “Sure,” replies Paulette.

And just like Nacogdoches County, Janet Cassels has the power to direct the rangers to investigate anything she wants really, like her political enemies.

“Do you think that’s what is happening in Angelina County,” asks Wayne. “I certainly do,” answered Paulette.  “What’s the danger of that,” asks Wayne. “Well the danger of that is no one gets fair trial,” replies Paulette.

“You hesitate to question the rangers,” claims Wayne.  Don replies, “I do.” Wayne adds, “why,” and Don Lymbery replies,” because they are rangers, okay. I mean you know they’re rangers and I’ve got a lot of respect for law enforcement.”

It’s been more than a year since Don Lymbery was removed as Angelina County judge, all because he was accused of a class C misdemeanor. A violation of the Texas open meetings act, the allegation was that he talked with two other commissioners about the road system.

Since then, Lymberry has been indicted for 21 charges for not recording some executive sessions during his time in office. He’s been re-arrested three times by the DA. Lots of mugshots. We keep asking why the county attorney isn’t in trouble for this because the legal advice is his job.

No accusations of real corruption in the Lymbery case, but he was taken out of office. He was a political critic of the DA too.

“This case has been devastating to myself and my family just like I said,” expressed Lymbery.

DA Janet Cassels keeps delaying Lymbery’s trial, twice offering a deal for him to just pay a fine, but he’s not budging.  And quite frankly we don’t blame him.

“I want my name cleared I have done nothing wrong. I did not do what I’m being accused of,” said Lymbery.

Lymbery has watched the developments in Nacogdoches too, how it affects his own prosecution. Lymbery’s interview was conducted by Ranger Hicks.

“This Ranger has really blown my trust in DPS and the rangers, period” states Lymbery.

We apparently became a real pain in the asphalt in Lufkin focusing on the multi-million-dollar asphalt contract, and real discrepancies in the work done by precinct three commissioner Terry Pitts. The numbers just didn’t add up. Records that didn’t exist suddenly showed up.

“I want to talk about asphalt,” said Wayne. Pitts asked, “about what?” Wayne continues, “asphalt” and Pitts states, “I don’t know nothing about asphalt.”

Texas ranger Ryan Clendennen had already been assigned to investigate that case.

We had spent months, and we weren’t sure what happened. But in just two weeks the Ranger had seen enough, the investigation he wrote was both discrete and limited. Whatever that means.

Paulette said, “I laughed…how you measure and figure out thousands of thousands of tons of material without measuring it, without look at it physically going after.”

The ranger didn’t even interview the Lufkin lawyer who had made the complaint.

“That’s ridiculous, they didn’t even investigate. Of all things the rangers should have investigated,” said Bob Flournoy.

The DPS says it won’t give us the records of this world speed record for Rangers investigations, and it doesn’t help that Pitts’ son is a DPS trooper in Lufkin. Raising questions of conflict of interest for the Rangers.

Kind of smells like a giant double standard, a conflict of interest, or in this part of Texas maybe it’s par for the course.

We don’t know how long Clenndenen has been stationed in Lufkin, but Hicks has been in Nacogdoches seven years already.

“If rangers are going to be the ones we go to about alleged public corruption in small towns across the state maybe they shouldn’t get so comfortable in one place,” states Wayne.

“The Rangers become a fabric of the county, the people the county. So, they make relationships they have friends, they end up with law enforcement,” explains Paulette.

Is that why rangers look at the Roland video and see nothing wrong?

“They then become a political tool of the DA and there’s really no questioning of the da authority,” states Paulette.

Something else smells fishy.

The district attorney… the rogue rangers… no one seems interested in this.

The 100,000-dollar paving job former Angelina Commissioner, Steve Smith, got on both sides of his house around the same time he cut a deal with the da to testify against Paulette… and Judge Lymbery.

The work was approved after it had already been done, but it had already been spent. Why didn’t that spark a corruption investigation? Inquiring minds want to know.

“There was nothing done about that. No investigation, everything okay,”said Paulette.

“When you see that what does it tell you,” asked Wayne. Paulette replied, “Well it tells you how unfair and the agenda they have and what they will go to any length to get what they want.”

Or hide what they don’t want you to see, like the alleged beating of Nacogdoches County inmate Joseph Hanzich.

“Look, knowing what I know now, I would have just let him beat me than having him go through that,” states Joseph Hanzich Sr.

We learned in the hours before this story that joseph’s dad has died, he won’t be here to see his son get justice. He won’t be there to watch his son get justice.

“I relied on him to do the right thing,” concluded Hanzich.

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