Sheriff Under Fire for Abuses, Removal Petition Being Circulated

Greg Sanches, Sheriff of Angelina County
Sheriff Greg Sanches photo from The Lufkin Daily News

Angelina County Residents Angry with Sheriff

Sheriff Greg Sanches of Angelina County is facing multiple complaints on various issues. The most serious complaint is regarding the arrest of Mark Anthony Smith in June of this year. More than likely the Angelina deputies who arrested Mr. Smith did not realize they were being caught on video. In the video (shown below) you can see the deputies, who are carrying rifles, attack Mr. Smith. They knock him to the ground, kick him, hit him with the butt of a rifle, and punch him. One officer drops onto Mr. Smith with his right knee using his body weight to increase the damage and pain. It’s hard to see around the three officers who are attacking Mr. Smith but it does not appear that Mr. Smith is resisting in any way. Once they are finished beating him and have his hands handcuffed behind his back, they get up. One officer walks away. The officer who had kneed Smith with his body weight, again drops onto Smith with his knee and body weight, holding Smith in place. Apparently the second officer does not feel this is enough and puts his foot on Smith’s back.

Sheriff Sanches responded to the video by claiming it had been doctored but I believe his idea of doctored isn’t what we all think of it as being. According to him there is audio, which isn’t on in the video we see, and that there is more video that isn’t shown. I think that’s his idea of doctored. Per Sheriff Sanches as heard on KETK news,

“I’ve watched the video. all the video’s not there. The audio is not in the, that is something that, uh, you’d have to listen the, there is audioto this that’s not on Facebook.”

According to KETK news, the sheriff said his deputies repsonded properly and did nothing wrong. It’s very concerning that someone with the kind of power a sheriff has, sees nothing wrong in what the officers did to Mr. Smith. I couldn’t care less if Smith was cussing the officers out. What matters is he is not resisting. That they chose to resort to the violence that they did is police brutality. I also don’t care if there is more video that we haven’t seen. We see the point in time where he is taken into custody and again, at that point, he is not resisting. Officers are supposed to use only the force necessary, not get revenge because their manhood was offended by something that happened earlier. I’m also curious as to why these officers are running around with rifles. It seems everyone wants to pretend they are sharp shooters or Rambo.

NOTE: The police cars do have dash cam but the sheriff is refusing to release the video.

Complaints to Commissioners Court

The assault on Mark Smith is in the news but there were other complaints against Sheriff Sanches. People decided to speak out against the sheriff at the Commissions Court meeting that was held yesterday. (Video of meeting is below the video of the arrest).

Deputy Shoots Dog

One of the complaints was by a family whose dog was shot and killed by a deputy. A call had been made for deputies to respond to the house behind the house where the dog lived. One deputy pulled his vehicle into the driveway of the dog owners’ house. According to the dog owners, the dog barked at the deputy three times and the deputy shot the dog three times from about 15 feet away.  The deputy’s reason for shooting the dog was that the dog charged at him. Though the young boy is obviously broken up about the killing of his dog, he is still able to get across the unlikelihood of the officer being able to shoot such a small target that was supposedly charging at the officer, while the officer is supposedly under the duress of an attacking animal. Once the dog has been killed it appears the grandmother must have said something. The young boy says the deputy told his grandmother, “It was just a dog.” This portion is at the 1:21:35 mark. (Video is below the video of the arrest).

Harassment by Sheriff Sanches

At the 1:25:35 mark in the Commissioners Court meeting, is the information from Hallie Hatthorn. Mrs. Hatthorn is part owner, along with her husband, of a towing company that contracts with law enforcement agencies. She also had a charity called Bags of Love that provided duffle bags for foster children to help them when they needed to move so they would not have to use trashbags. Those duffle bags were donated to their local CPS. At the February 2018 gala, a fundraising event for the charity, Mrs. Hatthorn invited multiple law enforcement agencies, giving the individuals free tickets. She did the same for Sheriff Sanches; however, Sheriff Sanches apparently had a lot of demands he wanted met or he would not attend. According to Mrs. Hatthorn,

“I could not accomodate his difficult and demanding seating requests. He did not want to sit by certain State Troopers or County Commissioners.” 

When other law enforcement agencies responded negatively to Sheriff Sanches not being at the charity event the sheriff began a campaign of harassment against Mrs. Hattorn. This included trying to get CPS to refuse to take the duffle bags from her, getting the shop that sold the t-shirts for the charity to refuse to carry them anymore, accusing her of criminal activity, critisizing her on Facebook, attempting to turn the community against her, telling her husband he needed to take her name off the business if he wanted the companty to stay on the County rotation and culminating with telling Mrs. Hatthorn, when she told him they had not violated any of the rules so he could not remove them from the rotation, that he would change the rules. (NOTE: she recorded the call so there is evidence).

The campaign of harassment by the sheriff resulted in the eventual closing of the charity.

Ignoring Open Records Requests

A military veteran, Steve Dubose, also spoke against Sheriff Sanches. His main complaint was in regards to the Sheriff’s Office failure to respond to his open records requests for their policies and procedures. He says he has been making the request for the last two years. He also spoke a little on the excessive force used against Mr. Smith in the June arrest and about the inability of the jail to pass the state inspection by the Texas Commission on Jail Standards (TCJS).

On the Sheriff’s Behalf

There were two people who spoke in favor of the sheriff but the first person makes this statement, “You should stand up with your guys, right or wrong, you stand up with them and you back them. If you got something to disagree with them about you call them aside and you don’t do it in a public, you know.” That alone should tell you that he has no idea how a government agency is supposed to work and he can be totally discounted, but I can’t get over the ignorance of believing that you should be supportive of someone you know is wrong. That’s the kind of thing that makes people not trust those agencies. The second person says how he has known the sheriff’s family since he was a child, hardly an unbiased opinion.

Petition Being Circulated

According to The Lufkin Daily News, a petition is being circulated asking for the resignation or removal of Sheriff Greg Sanches. This is more than likely what caused the sheriff to show up at the Commissioners Court meeting to speak. He is the very first speaker (see beginning of the video) but he doesn’t say anything of any real value. It’s just a rah-rah speech with some minor jabs at his detractors.

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