Galveston police chief files $1M defamation suit against councilman

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Mar. 1, 2011, 5:12am

GALVESTON – Galveston Police Chief Charles Wiley is seeking $1 million from Galveston Councilman Chris Gonzales for making false statements about him.

In a lawsuit filed Feb. 24 in Galveston County Court at Law No. 2, Wiley challenges Gonzales's claims that the police chief had been arrested twice while serving as a Galveston police officer more than 30 years ago and that he had shot a man in the back.

"He knew the statements were false and incomplete," the original petition says.

"The defendant made these statements with reckless disregard for the truth and with actual malice toward the plaintiff."

Wiley argues that he has never been arrested but was indicted by "an activist prosecutor" along with a number of other policemen, released on a $1,000 personal recognizance bond and summoned to trial. The defendant failed to mention that the officers remained on duty during the pendency of the case, the suit says.

It further explains that the plaintiff did not shoot anyone in the back though he fired into the leg of a man, a former football player, who was in the process of committing multiple assaults after Galveston police disrupted an alleged armed robbery.

Wiley also says that Gonzales passed around a 40-year-old Galveston newspaper article detailing the incident with the date marked out, claiming the defendant did the obscuring to make the story look recent.

The suit shows there is no "open investigation" conducted by the district attorney's office and insists the chief suffered "damages of a personal nature and probable economic injuries because of the false statements."

"As a result of the false statements, Wiley has incurred a substantial loss of reputation and standing in the community with people that do not know him and has further suffered severe emotional distress," the original petition says.

Consequently, Wiley seeks $1 million and a jury trial.

He is represented by attorney Charles E. Soechting of San Marcos.

The case has been assigned to Galveston County Court at Law No. 2 Judge Barbara Roberts.

Cause No. 64,768

More News