Nothing like a bit of sensationalism to warm the bones on a cold January day. In this case, here's a story from the Houston Chronicle about a Louisiana doctor, Glen Hurlston, who's suing Jeffrey Barnett, the former police chief of Princeton, Texas, and several of his fellow officers, for harassment.
Why did Barnett and his fellow officers harass Hurlston, you ask? Because, according to Hurlston, the chief was having an ongoing affair with Hurlston's wife, and, the suit alleges, used his position to make Hurlston's life very difficult:
According to Hurlston's complaint, his wife, Suzanne Hurlston, had an affair with Barnett for several years and bore him a son. At times, she fraudulently claimed the child was Hurlston's, the suit states.
Hurlston claims in the lawsuit that Barnett used his position as Princeton police chief to instruct other officers, including Mitchnik, to harass him.
According to the complaint, Mitchnik and other officers arrested Hurlston Jan. 1, 2012, on a charge of domestic abuse battery "without substantial evidence."
The charge was later reduced to a minor misdemeanor, to which Hurlston pleaded no contest, the suit states.
Hurlston claims he wouldn't have been arrested if it hadn't been for his wife's relationship with Princeton officers and their former chief.
Hurlston's suit has multiple defendants: Barnett, current Princeton chief Robert Mitchnik, multiple other officers, and the cities of both Princeton—which is located in the DFW Metroplex just outside of McKinney—and Kyle. There are salacious allegations to be found in the suit about Hurlston and his wife, whom the complaint says "waxed hot and cold" the past two years. The Chronicle details that hot-and-cold waxing as accepting a photography course that the doctor paid for her to take in Paris. (Her LinkedIn profile lists her as a photographer in France.)
Most of this would happily fall into the category of "none of our business," meanwhile, if the allegations weren't being leveled at public servants who stand accused of abusing their positions of authority. We don't know any of the details of the relationship between Hurlston and his wife, or between Hurlston's wife and Barnett—it's not at all clear, for example, whether or not the domestic abuse charges filed against Hurlston had any basis in reality—but even if his behavior was genuinely troubling, there's a right way for law enforcement to deal with it that doesn't include things like this, from the complaint:
Hurlston said the Princeton police department's harassment over the next year included numerous threats that he would be arrested if he "showed his face" in Collin County, for telephoning and texting his wife and her new boyfriend.
- 1 week