LA MARQUE — Russel Washington, the former police chief who filed a lawsuit claiming he was wrongfully fired by the La Marque school board in 2010, said he has struggled to find work in law enforcement since his termination and has developed stress-induced illnesses that make it difficult for him to keep down solid food.

Washington took the witness stand in Galveston’s federal court Monday seeking $10 million in damages. He claims he was fired without due process while under indictment on a charge of falsifying records to obtain a car title. Those charges were later dropped.

Washington filed the lawsuit in 2012 after unsuccessful attempts to get his job back.

Washington’s attorney, Susan Soto, argued Monday the former chief —  “a highly decorated officer and a product of the La Marque Independent School District” — was fired from a job he loved without the opportunity to defend himself.

She said Washington was not allowed to defend himself at the board meeting where he was ultimately terminated after a 4-3 vote by school trustees. Former trustee Cynthia Bell-Malveaux, who at the time had a pending defamation lawsuit against Washington, should have recused herself from the vote because of an existing bias, Soto said.

Attorney Paul Lamp, who is representing the school district, said administrators gave Washington several opportunities to argue his case before the school board meeting.

He called the criminal investigation and the indictment against Washington a cloud that hung over the entire school district and required action on the part of administrators and trustees.

Lamp said the district sent two letters to Washington seeking explanation about the investigation, but received only a three-sentence response from Washington’s attorney.

Lamp said Washington refused to discuss the investigation with the former head of human resources for the school district or former Superintendent Ecomet Burley.

Washington said he has been unable to find a job in law enforcement since his termination, and now works in construction on an “every-other-day” basis.

He said stress-related illnesses caused by his termination have made it difficult for him to eat and have impaired his ability to coach youth sports teams, which Washington said he is passionate about.

Testimony in the trial is expected to continue today.

Contact reporter Alex Macon at 409-683-5241 or alex.macon@galvnews.com.

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(11) comments

Walter Manuel

I suppose ex-Police Chief Timothy Field probably feels the same way as Russel does right about now, seeing how Russel's friends on the school board decided to completely do away with the police department only after they realized that they couldn't illegally suspend and eventually fire Chief Fields in order to give Russel his job back?

I'm sure Chief Fields also loved his job just as much and feels that he didn't do anything wrong in his duties as the LMISD chief of police to warrant the school board members doing away with his job?

Thank goodness this trial has finally begun and can hopefully be ended before the districts next lawsuit begins.

To say anyone is a product of LMISD these days is certainly NOTHING to brag about! Give the man his $4,500 and a part of his attorney fees and quit wasting taxpayer dollars on this foolishness.

Schools are protected under Soveriegn Immunity and Texas is an At-Will state, period! [yawn] [whistling]

Dwight Burns

$4,500? You're got to be kidding. Your kind of thinking is exactly why a jury has to decide this case.

Walter Manuel

Drumb47, and your way of thinking is exactly why there SHOULD be laws against frivolous lawsuits!

Give me a break...

Mike Meador

If I were at this courtroom, they'd have to tell me to "take a hike" listening to this former police officer......I wouldn't be able to stiffen the laughter.

PD Hyatt

This story is so funny.... Washington is lying through his teeth and I pray that this jury is NOT stupid enough to believe anything that this man says....

Walter Manuel

I totally agree Cougargator, this whole lawsuit thibg has been a joke and a farce from the very beginning!

Walter Manuel

I'm sure Russel's character witnesses will show the jurors exactly who they are dealing with?

With all this strain that this whole mess and his friends on the board have cost the district, give him exactly what he's got owed to him and not a penny more and send him on his way.

The LMISD taxpayers have wasted enough of OUR tax dollars with this little game of constant court jumping.

Somehow i don't think it will be over though any time soon....

George Croix

Washington didn't say he couldn't find work, he said he couldn't find work in law enforcement. No mention was made as to whether he attempted to find other work. Gotta live on something....
I'm curious about the 10 million dollar asking price of the lawsuit.
That's a 100,000 bucks per year, for 100 years...200,000 dollars for 50 years....400,000 Washington's for Washington for each year of a likely normal remaining 25 year working career....or, after the lawyer gets a customary 40% cut, 240 grand a year for 25 years..
One wonders what kind of unable to find law enforcement job would pay at that rate?!
Of course, the likely reason for the absurdly high amount being sued for is to settle for less....


Walter Manuel

Very good point and analogy Gecroix....

Gary ONeil

I guess 10 million will help him keep down his food!!....At least better food will be coming up now.....What a joke. Find another job... Jury please don't fall for this BS.

Walter Manuel

Today the TRUTH will finally set everyone free and all of LM's LIARS will be exposed for who they really are.

I'm sure no matter what they decide to finally give Russel Washington, it's probably still not going to be over today after the ruling is read...[sad]

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