A black state trooper who claims he was discharged from the detail that protects Gov. Rick Perry and his family because he reported racial discrimination and sexual harassment within the detail could receive more than $900,000. In an April 21 final judgment, 345th District Judge Stephen Yelenosky of Austin ordered the Texas Department of Public Safety to pay Thomas Williams that amount based on a jury’s findings last month. The jury returned its verdict in Williams v. Texas Department of Public Safety on March 6. According to the jury charge, jurors found that DPS transferred Williams from the governor’s protective detail in 2004, because he filed a discrimination complaint under Chapter 21 of the Texas Labor Code. As noted in the charge, the jury also found that Williams’ race was a “motivating factor” for his transfer. Philip Durst, Williams’ attorney and a shareholder in Austin’s Deats Durst Owen & Levy, says Williams had “a spotless record” before he wrote a June 2003 memo in which he alleged that white males on the detail received the best assignments, including ones that paid for overtime, and that a female trooper was being sexually harassed. Durst says Williams received bad evaluations on his job performance after sending that complaint to the head of the protective detail. DPS spokeswoman Tela Mange says the agency has not decided whether to appeal the judgment, but she declines further comment. Durst says he expects the state to appeal.
-- Mary Alice Robbins