TARRANT COUNTY (CBSDFW.COM) – Testimony started Tuesday in the case of a former deputy constable in Tarrant County, accused of collecting a paycheck while he was actually working private security jobs.
The whistleblower in the case, another deputy constable who used to work with Keith Johnson, testified the activity was so rampant in the Precinct 8 Constable’s office that those who worked the jobs were called “Fiesta Deputies,” after one of the stores where they would work security.
Johnson’s attorneys on the other hand, painted a picture of an office where employees considered the security detail as orders from superiors, and were afraid of losing their law enforcement jobs if they refused the work.
Johnson is one of four deputies seen on camera working the private jobs in 2017 in a CBS 11 I-Team investigation. A review of payroll records and daily activity reports by the I-Team later showed Johnson and others collected pay for the same time they were seen at private businesses like Fiesta and Walmart.
“We have a blue line, where you don’t tell,” Roosevelt Master testified Tuesday. “But at the same time, you have a code of ethics. We see a crime committed by somebody else… it’s our job to address the situation.”
Johnson refused to look in Master’s direction during much of the testimony.
I-Team producer Kelsey Mittauer also was called to testify Tuesday, recounting the initial tip and her stakeout of stores that led to the discovery.
Johnson is facing up to 10 years in prison for a charge of theft by a public servant. He also faces six charges of tampering with public records.
Two other employees, Hayward Charles and Arnold Holmes pleaded guilty in the case last year, avoiding jail time. A trial is still pending for former deputy Jason Lockett.