Tarrant Mayor Wayman Newton has put the police chief on administrative leave until further notice, and although he isn't commenting on why, more information surrounding friction between the two has been revealed.
After being put on leave, chief Wendell Major fired back in a statement saying Newton was in crisis. He said that the move to place him on administrative leave was because the mayor was angry that the chief refused to release a domestic violence suspect without a court order.
“I have been working hard to bring violent crime down in the city of Tarrant which is evidenced by no homicides in over a year and a half,” Major stated. “As a lawyer I find it troubling that the Mayor of a city would demand a violent domestic abuse suspect be let out without the court’s oversight. As the Chief of Police, I am limited to the job of keeping the peace in the city and it is unfortunate that the Mayor misunderstands my authority as chief of police and his own authority as Mayor. It is my belief that although my officers arrest criminal suspects and put then in jail it is the Court’s decision when it comes to when they get out of jail.
“The Mayor seems to be in crises, which is evidenced through his multiple arrests as well as the latest physical altercation with one of the City Councilors. It is unfortunate that because he is in a public position that his outbursts are being exposed in such a public manner. While I remain hopeful that he will get the help he needs I stand behind my decision not to release a violent domestic violence suspect without court approval as he requested.”
Sources close to the mayor tell 1819 News the suspect was given a bond by a judge but would not confirm who the suspect was or what specific charges they were facing.
Major went on to say in his statement that the incident could also be connected to a November 2022 altercation outside of the Tarrant City Hall. Councilman Tommy Bryant allegedly punched Newton after a tense meeting. The punch was thrown in the parking lot of City Hall, where surveillance cameras captured the incident.
"Furthermore, I am hoping the Mayor Newton is not attempting use his authority as Mayor to unduly influence a witness in an upcoming trial dealing with language he used which resulted in him being punched,” said Major. “If so, I can assure you and the public that it will not work and I will not change my testimony because of this misdirected allegation. I ask the public to pray for Mayor Newton to get the help he needs because the safety of citizens of the city of Tarrant is paramount.
“Mental health is real, and I am confident that the system will vindicate me for protecting the community in times when violence is so prevalent.”
Newton said at this time, he is unable to make an official statement on the decision to place Major on administrative leave. He added it was against city policy to disclose information on personnel matters.
In the meantime, Sgt. Cynthia Morrow is acting as the senior ranking officer in the department.
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