WALLER COUNTY, Texas - Several community groups are calling for the removal or resignation of the Waller County district attorney.
At a news conference Monday, Pastor Walter Pendleton accused Ethon Mathis, the District Attorney of Waller County, of sending him threatening text messages after Pendleton requested information about the prosecution rates of minorities versus white citizens. Pendleton has filed a grievance with the State Bar of Texas.
"We hope justice is brought and to uncover the lifetime of terror that we've suffered in Waller County," Pendleton said while standing with his attorney and representatives from several groups supporting him.
In a copy of the text messages released to the media, Pendleton asks Mathis to call him, but things quickly became heated.
Mathis replies, "Don't ever call me again. You went over the line."
Mathis was reportedly upset after finding out that Pendleton protested against him for two days.
In his text message response, Pendleton accuses Mathis of "selective prosecution" and tells him to "Call your hounds off."
Mathis texts back, "You are too stupid to know what that means."
After listing the names of white officials that his office has successfully prosecuted, Mathis texts, "My hounds ain't even started yet dumb (expletive) Keep talking and I will sue your (expletive) for slander."
On Monday, Mathis confirmed to KPRC Local 2 that he did send the text messages to Pendleton.
"If someone is going to openly slander me and my office and the good job we're doing for this community, I'm going to stand up and speak my mind," Mathis said.
The district attorney says he and Pendleton used to have a close relationship and worked together on community issues, but that bond was severed because of mistrust.
"I think the State Bar of Texas will look at this (complaint) and see it is an attempt to intimidate this office from seeking justice in the community," Mathis said.
Mathis says he does not plan to resign from his elected office.
Pendleton's attorney said the case is an example of an elected official who has abused is authority.
"It's official oppression under the laws of the state of Texas if a district attorney makes a threat against citizen and it's recorded and it's documented," attorney Robert Bennett said.
The complaint with the State Bar of Texas was filed on June 3 and the issue could take several months to resolve.
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