FORT WORTH, Texas -- Three North Texas law enforcement groups on Friday took a Fort Worth businessman to task for an anonymous Facebook page created last year during the Republican primary runoff for Tarrant County sheriff.
At issue is the “Thiefbillwaybourn” Facebook page that made allegations of improprieties during the 2016 runoff between former Dalworthington Gardens Police Chief Bill Waybourn and then-Sheriff Dee Anderson.
Waybourn won and became Tarrant County’s sheriff earlier this year.
The three groups say evidence shows that the page, which no longer exist, was linked to Bo French, who is again challenging state Rep. Charlie Geren, R-Fort Worth, for the House District 99 seat in next year’s election.
“When Bo French created a fake Facebook account in the name of ... Waybourn, it wasn’t merely a political prank, it potentially was a crime,” according to the statement by the presidents of the Dallas and Arlington police associations and the Tarrant County Law Enforcement Association.
“Texas law prohibits the impersonation of a peace officer, and Mr. French owes every officer who wears the uniform an explanation for his intemperate actions.”
No charges have been filed in the case, records show.
French denies allegations
French sent out a statement in response, saying this issue is a political “ploy” by the Geren campaign.
“I did not support Bill Waybourn in his election last year, but am proud of the job he has done as Sheriff since getting elected,” according to his statement. “I’m on the board of the Fort Worth Police Department SWAT Support Group and have helped raise nearly $1,000,000 for local law enforcement over the last 6 years.
“The absurd accusation that a satirical Facebook page in opposition to Mr. Waybourn is an ‘impersonation of a peace officer’ is ridiculous and merely political rhetoric.”
In last year’s primary, Geren claimed 58 percent of the vote to French’s 42 percent and went on to win another term in office.
French and his wife, Sheridan, filed a lawsuit one week before the Dec. 11 filing deadline for Texans seeking spots on next year’s primary ballot, alleging that false accusations of child abuse were made against him during the contentious primary race in 2016.
“This is nothing more than a ploy to distract from the fact that we filed a lawsuit against members of the Charlie Geren campaign who we believe knowingly filed a false CPS report against my family in an attempt to take my children away,” French’s statement read.
Geren said he didn’t know anything about the fake Facebook page until Friday, after law enforcer associations sent out the statement.
“I hope he didn’t do it,” Geren said. “Because it is breaking the law. If he did it, it needs to be investigated.”