Edinburg police chief files lawsuit against city
A Valley police chief is suing his employer.
Edinburg Police Chief Cesar Torres is suing the city, claiming city leaders are trying to force him out.
Torres' attorney said the police chief was instructed on more than one occasion by Edinburg City Manager Ron Garza and Omar Ochoa, the city attorney, not to investigate alleged criminal conduct by another Edinburg Police officer.
The lawsuit says an Edinburg Internal Affairs investigator informed Torres of possible criminal misconduct from a police investigator in September and says last month Garza and Ochoa instructed Torres to leave that matter alone.
But Torres reported the misconduct to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in early October and met with investigators again in November. He informed FBI agents that Garza did not want him to pursue a criminal investigation against that officer.
The lawsuit alleges Garza called Torres to his office with Ochoa in early April; that's where Torres claims he was given the option to resign or be fired, and on April 12, he was placed on administrative leave.
According to Torres, Garza's intention to fire him was due to his refusal to disregard an allegation of criminal conduct by a police officer.
However, in a statement, the city of Edinburg said the request for Torres to resign came a day after an independent arbitrator ruled that the chief had discriminated against officers in the police department.
The statement adds that after the request, Torres made serious allegations against Garza and demanded two years of salary to resign, having never alleged any misconduct in the past.
On Thursday, District Judge Roberto Flores issued a temporary restraining order, which bans the city of Edinburg from altering Torres' current employment status.
The city says it will defend itself against the allegations from Torres and will seek to lift the temporary restraining order at the next court hearing set for May 17.