Fired Eagle Pass police chief plans to sue over dismissal

Tony Castaneda points to his aiding in FBI corruption probes

Published On: Mar 11 2013 02:27:25 PM CDT   Updated On: Mar 06 2013 08:57:37 PM CST
EAGLE PASS, Texas -

Longtime Eagle Pass police Chief Tony Castaneda said he plans to file a wrongful termination lawsuit over his abrupt firing Monday by Gloria Barrientos, the interim city manager.

"Politics absolutely played a role," Castaneda said.

After nearly 19 years as one of the longest serving police chiefs on the border, Castaneda pointed to his aiding the FBI expose alleged corruption among Maverick County commissioners and at City Hall.

He said three out of four county commissioners are under federal indictment -- two accused of bribery, another of conspiracy.

The former chief said a case involving the alleged theft of city gasoline also is pending in federal court.

However, at a hastily called news conference Wednesday in council chambers, Barrientos refused to take questions as to why she had fired the police chief.

Before walking out, Barrientos said, under the city charter, "The mayor and city council played no part in my decision to fire former chief Castaneda."

But Castaneda said he believes Barrientos  acted because she is up for the permanent position as city manager.

He said the letter he was handed listed eight reasons for his firing, mostly ongoing personnel matters within his department.

Castaneda said Barrientos had never raised the issues until then.

He said the experience has left "a very bitter taste in my mouth."

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