Former Olton Police Chief, attorney discuss potential lawsuit ag

Former Olton Police Chief, attorney discuss potential lawsuit against city

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The small community of Olton is in turmoil, while the plot thickens with City Manager Marvin Tillman. He's indicted again. The latest indictment against Tillman is on charges he impersonated a public servant last year. In May, he was arrested by the Texas Rangers and indicted on two third degree-felony theft charges. 

Olton's former Police Chief Joe Banda worked with Tillman for several years. He said he started having problems with the city manager about four years ago. 

"He would chase people around town, and then call me to come to where he was at, so he could show me who it was," he said. 

Banda and his attorney Terry Boone said Tillman did things that were questionable. For example, Boone said Tillman instructed Banda to give out tickets targeting Hispanics.

"And the tickets issued said per city manager instructions, because the chief did not feel that there was a violation which had occurred," Boone said.

In January, Banda took time off work for health reasons. When he returned, he was told he needed an exam to see if he was fit for duty. Boone said Banda was cleared by doctors, but matters got worse for his client.

"It took them four days to come up with complaints," Banda said. "They never got a complaint on me, and all the years I've been there since 2003 that was the only complaints I got on the last days I had a job there."

There are a variety of complaints made against Banda by the city. 

"Some complaints regarding training of the officers, younger officers who had started with the department and complaints about his relationship with the sheriff's department in the county and the D.A's," Boone said.

"I didn't do anything as far as breaking any laws that I can see," Banda said. 

Last month, Council unanimously decided to fire Banda.         

"We believe that in part the city retaliated against Chief Banda because of the allegations they believed he was a whistle blower who reported the activity by the city manager," Boone said. "Which he since has been indicted for, and that retaliation is illegal under Texas law.

In May, Tillman was placed on a 60-day paid suspension. 

"The mayor and every council member is put in by the citizens and those people right there are defending a man that has been stealing from the city," Banda said.

Boone said they're challenging the city on several issues including unpaid wages. And that Banda's peace officers license is being questioned by the state.
He said his client doesn't want to take down the city, and at this time has not filed a lawsuit. 

"Honestly I'm always optimistic," Boone said. "Because I believe that if everyone understands the facts you are working with and we are all working with the same facts we ought to be able to resolve it without  going to the court."

Banda said he just wants to move forward and put this whole predicament in the past. 

"I was done wrong," he said. "I accepted it. Whatever happened, happened. I have no remorse on doing what they have done. It does make me mad that they continue to let this go on."

Right now, both sides are working on a resolution. Banda is trying to find a job, and does plan to remain in Olton. FOX34 reached out to Tillman's attorney, but was told he was not in town and was unavailable for comment.

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