Former Galveston mayor's defamation suit concludes

By John Suayan, Galveston Bureau | Apr 1, 2012

GALVESTON - Former Galveston Police Chief Charles Wiley's defamation suit against Galveston Councilman Chris Gonzales recently came to a close after a year of litigation.

Wiley and Gonzales had their joint motion for dismissal with prejudice approved by Galveston County Court at Law No. 2 Judge Barbara Roberts on March 2.

Wiley sued Gonzales on Feb. 24, 2011, in an effort to challenge the councilman's claims that the ex-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.

Court documents filed at the time asserted the defendant "knew the statements were false and incomplete."

According to the original petition, the plaintiff 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 suit stated Wiley 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.

Gonzales also passed around a 40-year-old Galveston newspaper article detailing the incident with the date marked out to make the story look recent, it added.

Wiley originally sought $1 million in damages as a result of the defendant's alleged actions.

The councilman contested the suit in an original answer filed March 21, 2011, stating that the complainant presented himself as a public figure, therefore his character and fitness for office as the chief of police were matters of public concern.

He also said that it is both his right and obligation as a member of the city council to review the operations of the Galveston Police Department and others, to form opinions on the department and its leadership and to express those opinions to the public at large.

Roberts's two-page order shows both parties dismissed their claims against each other.

Cause No. 64,768

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