Swize was placed on paid administrative leave recently pending an internal investigation of the complaint by the Karnes County Sheriff’s Office.
Casey Cullen, an attorney with Cullen, Carsner, Seerden and Cullen, L.L.P, a Victoria law firm, said the Karnes County Sheriff’s Office is continuing its investigation of allegations of misconduct brought forward in a formal written complaint by a law firm representing Premier Vacuum Service and Barbara Shaw.
A copy of the written complaint which was submitted by Attorney Brian David Smith with the law firm McKamie, Krueger and Knight, L.L.P. On behalf of Premier Vacuum Service and Barbara Shaw, was obtained Monday by The Karnes Countywide through an open records request sent to the sheriff’s office.
The complaint states that the law firm of McKamie, Krueger and Knight, was asked to evaluate the conduct of the chief deputy while he was present at an accident scene which happened in the Falls City area on June 3 and involved a truck belonging to Premier Vacuum Service.
“After obtaining a copy of the dash cam video and audio recording from the Texas Department of Public Safety police cruiser on the scene, there is strong evidence that Chief Deputy Russell Swize was caught on tape attempting to lobby State Trooper Steve Bailey to falsify his accident report to show that the vehicle owned and operated by Premiere Vacuum Services was the party at fault,” the complaint written by Attorney Brian David Smith said.
“Further cause for concern is that Chief Deputy Sherif Russell Swize’s own words indicate that his sole reason for suggesting fault be assigned to the party who the trooper’s investigation determined was not at fault was done because he knew the vacuum truck belonged to Karnes County Judge Barbara Najvar Shaw,” the complaint continued.
“After reviewing our observations from the dash cam videotape with our clients, they were relieved that State Trooper Steve Bailey ignored Chief Deputy Russell Swize’s attempts to shift liability to the vehicle owned and operated by Premier Vacuum Services. They however are very concerned that there still may be a small fraction in local law enforcement who may be targeting the Judge and Premier Vacuum Service for purely political reasons,” the complaint said.
“On behalf of our clients, I respectfully request that you turn this matter over to the appropriate authorities so that a proper investigation can be conducted into the conduct of Karnes County Chief Deputy Russell Swize. I also ask that pending the outcome of what we hope will be a thorough investigation, Chief Deputy Russell Swize be directed to have no contact with Barbara Najvar Shaw in either her individual or official capacity,” the complaint said.
The Karnes Countywide reached out to Russell Swize for comment.
“At the advice of my attorney I respectfully decline comment at this time,” Swize said.
The Karnes Countywide also reached out to Sheriff Dwayne Villanueva and State Trooper Steve Bailey for comment, but messages left were not immediately returned.