A proclamation reading at the May 25 meeting of the Beeville City Council led to controversy and a silent protest.
The proclamation, read by Councilman Brian Watson, commended local law enforcement agencies for their meritorious service at the May 10 standoff incident in Bee County.
Councilman Benny Puente Jr. had made a motion to table the recognition presentation, with quick support from Councilman Mike Willow II.
Councilmen Brian Watson and Eric Holland disagreed, which unexpectedly set off a shocking series of events.
As Watson began reading the commendation, multiple members of the Beeville Police Department and Beeville Police Association quietly walked out of the room in unison.
Two members of the Beeville Independent School District Police Department – Chief Art Gamez and officer Cecil Daniels – were present and solely accepted the proclamation.
Willow and Puente immediately thanked the officers for their service, but stated they did not support the proclamation because it did not include the city’s own department.
“I know BPD wanted to be there (at the scene), and it wasn’t a question about cowardice or anything else,” said Willow. “We should’ve done a little more research before leaving them off this award. I don’t have anything against BISD PD or any other agency, but leaving our city police department off of this is a slap in the face, and I don’t agree with it.”
Watson defended the proclamation, saying he supported their immediate response to the incident.
“We promote unity and working together, and I commend your actions rushing to provide aid to one another,” he said. “This isn’t about fact checking. This is to thank our officers who responded with no hesitation and no questions asked.”
The Beeville Police Association later released a statement regarding the walkout.
“The Beeville Police Association walked out while the commendation was read to send a message that we felt betrayed by Councilman Watson for putting himself and what we believe to be a political agenda before the men and women of the Beeville Police Department,” the statement read in part.
Editor’s note: The May 10 incident is still under investigation and some pertinent records are not available. The Bee-Picayune obtained statements from multiple parties involved, but portions of those statements contain unverifiable information regarding the incident. As such, the Bee-Picayune has chosen not to print those statements until such time that those claims can be verified.