Former Local Official Sues City After Arrest

Godley City Hall | Image by Godley TX Community/Facebook

A former city council member of Godley is suing the city government, police department, and former mayor after being arrested outside City Hall in an alleged effort to silence her.

Former city council member Jennifer Thompson previously alleged to The Dallas Morning News that then-Mayor Acy McGehee was conspiring with the police to arrest her after she spent months asking about the finances and hiring policies of the city. McGehee resigned on June 13 following a no-confidence vote from the city council.

Godley was arrested at City Hall on February 7 after arriving early for a scheduled city council meeting.

Because Thompson was not present at the meeting, McGehee became the deciding vote on several items Thompson opposed, some of which pertained to the hiring choices for the interim city attorney and interim city secretary.

Last week, Thompson filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas against McGehee, the City of Godley, and several law enforcement officers.

The lawsuit accuses these parties of conspiring against Thompson and violating her constitutional rights. Thompson is seeking unspecified damages.

“Defendants knowingly and/or with reckless disregard to Plaintiff’s federal rights used their governmental power as policymakers and under the color of state law to arrest Plaintiff, strip-search her, and confine her in jail on the pretense of a crime that Plaintiff did not commit and of which Defendants have no valid evidence,” the lawsuit reads.

One Godley police officer allegedly obtained a warrant for Thompson’s arrest illegally — a warrant that accused Thompson of “tampering with a government record.” According to the lawsuit, the affidavit behind the warrant “relied solely on the unsubstantiated and incorrect statements” from McGehee.

Furthermore, the lawsuit accuses two other officers of having “falsely arrested” Thompson and “detained her in a police car for several minutes in front of her fellow councilmembers and constituents with malice to embarrass and humiliate her.”

McGehee told the DMN last week that he knew of the lawsuit and denied allegations of abusing his power to silence Thompson’s opposition.

He claimed he “had no knowledge” of the crime she was accused of before she was arrested.

“I was notified by the police that they were going to arrest her. It was City Council meeting night and I asked them not to arrest her at City Hall, to arrest her at her house,” he said, per the DMN. “But she didn’t go to her house, she came directly to City Hall from wherever she was, so they had to arrest her there.”

The City of Godley has not yet released any official statement on the matter.

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