MIDLAND, Texas (KMID/KPEJ)- The Midland Municipal Police Officers Association has issued a statement regarding a Grand Jury’s decision not to indict five Midland Christian School employees on charges of failing to report an outcry of abuse.
Here is that statement in its entirety:
MMPOA has historically been an advocacy organization. Most of our activities are focused on supporting our members as they serve their community. In fact, we cannot recall a single news release or official statement made by this association in at least the past eight years. The nature of these recent events compels the leadership of MMPOA to release this statement.
There have been many who have commented on the facts or merits of this case without being privy to them. MMPOA will not be one of them. MMPOA does advocate for a relentless pursuit of truth, for sound investigations, and for fair and trustworthy processes.
To that end, MMPOA has serious concerns about the Grand Jury process as it was handled by the Midland County District Attorney’s Office in this case. It is difficult to “let the process work itself out” as Mayor Payton asked of the city when the Midland County District Attorney’s Office does not have the lead detective from the Midland Police Department testify before the Grand Jury. Such testimonies are commonplace especially in sensitive, complex, or high-profile cases. Not having the lead detective appear before the Grand Jury to present the case and answer questions from the Grand Jury does a disservice to all parties by potentially limiting the Grand Jury’s ability to make a full and fair determination of probable cause.
Regardless, we, the members of MMPOA, will continue our efforts to selflessly, tirelessly, relentlessly and sacrificially serve our city. We are grateful to serve under a city leadership and with fellow citizens who support our efforts to keep our city safe.
Earlier this week District Attorney Laura Nodolf announced a Grand Jury “no-billed” the charges against Superintendent Jared Lee, Secondary Principal Dana Ellis, Secondary Vice Principal Matthew Counts, Athletic Director Gregory McClendon, and Head Baseball Coach Barry Russell. This means the Grand Jury did not think there was enough evidence to take the case to trial and the charges against the staffers have been dismissed. However, they could be indicted later if new evidence is presented.
The five were arrested in February after a student said he was assaulted with a baseball bat on campus. The school called the incident a “hazing” incident in a statement and later said an independent investigation into the school’s handling of the situation revealed no wrongdoing by any of the five administrators.