By Rita Cook / Staff Writer
FERRIS – In a confusing cat and mouse game, trying to get anyone to talk about a recent Ferris City Council meeting item taken into executive session – a resident, Johnathan Hope, said he would talk with me – then decided not to after all.
However, that was just one of the headshaking confusions after accusations and stories were exposed left mostly unexplained questions about an incident continued to become layered like an over-stacked pancake.
Hope filed a complaint on Aug. 3 with the City of Ferris.
The complaint form stated as the topic’s outline, “A meeting I had with councilmen Bobby Lindsey and Jay Walsh, which I believe may have been initiated by Bill Jordan to get rid of (Eddie) Salazar, the (Ferris Police) Chief. Private meeting at my parent’s home. Encouraged to get on the next council meeting agenda.”
Also, on the form Hope completed for the request to place this item on the Ferris City Council agenda, he said he believed this meeting at his parent’s home was illegal.
Hope also noted on the form he has, “warned both councilmen to “leave me alone” and called Bill Jordan a coward for trying to use me for this – via text.”
In the comments section of the form, Hope wrote, “It (the meeting) turned out to be how to get rid of Salazar. I was instructed to bring things up to the council at the next meeting. The feeling I got was that it had been discussed with Bill Jordan. I don’t want to be a part of something illegal.”
Neither Lindsey or Walsh returned phone calls before deadline for this article. Walsh had said earlier he was not aware of any of the allegations brought against him and then added, “No comment.”
Hope had previously claimed Ferris police planted drugs in his vehicle last year. It is unclear if this allegation was related to the recent meeting Walsh and Lindsey were part of at Hope’s parent’s home.
The Ferris officers were investigated and cleared of all allegations.
Hope took to Google last week questioning Salazar on calling the FBI about this meeting at his parent’s home.
“You think I haven’t researched the Bowman connection to the FBI?” he questioned. “He’s quite proud of it. Didn’t run to the Rangers this time like last time, huh?”
Hope also indicated Salazar was standing alone on this one because he did not run to the Texas Rangers.
“This is what I mean by your gonna get yours, and the great thing is you brought this out to yourself,” Hope wrote on the Google board.
After Monday night’s city council meeting, it appeared by more than one attendee trouble was brewing with Hope and his rendition of how the meeting ended afterwards.
After the meeting, there was an apparent verbal exchange with Hope’s family, which Salazar took note of in case there was trouble. Hope’s brother Jason, a former terminated Ferris police officer, took to Facebook to write, “Let me start off by saying that I am not the type of person who is always posting my opinions and concerns on social media.”
He noted in his post his brother, Johnathan has never brought his issues with the Ferris PD to a council meeting.
He also stated as the Hope family left the council meeting, his niece was upset, but there was no reason explained as to why, and the post continued “The Chief (Salazar) and Gator (Investigator Walter Weiss) stood at the first door and both smiled and said “have a nice day” to my niece who was still crying. This provoked her to lash out verbally at both. My brother grabbed her and ushered her out the second door when she didn’t calm down.”
He further said he was concerned, “with half of the department’s officers right there not one attempted to get between them.”
There were only, in fact, two officers from the Ferris Police Department at the city council meeting – Salazar and Weiss.
One witness at the evening meeting who also saw the exchanges outside after the meeting said she felt Hope’s daughter was saying to Salazar, “You’ve got family,” in a threatening manner.
Norma Magness, property owner in Ferris since the 1970s, explained the chief did tell everyone at the meeting goodbye with a smile, and Hope’s daughter did have a crying outburst before leaving council chambers.
She said Salazar had been keeping a watch over the situation occurring outside with the Hope family, but saw him do nothing wrong.
Salazar was using his body cam for most of the action outside after the council meeting too.
Later Hope, who was supposed to meet and discuss the incident – canceled. He did send text messages to try and clear up the incident.
He said The Ellis County Press did not have the story correct regarding his reason for his item to be addressed at the city council meeting.
Via text he said he had the letter referred to in The Ellis County Press as clearance from Rangers who investigated his complaints. Hope said he was told the letter did not exist three months ago, but said he found out the Rangers are not investigating his complaints from back in March.
The Ellis County Press has no knowledge of the letter Hope refers to.
In his text, Hope also indicated he did not want anything about this incident published in The Ellis County Press, but he simply wanted to let the publisher of The ECP know to be careful because, “the chief is incorrect.”
Hope noted he did not tell any names on who told him what “so be careful” he warned via text.
He also indicated the complaint he tried to turn in Wednesday was, “concerning Chief Salazar’s actions, so include that also.”
Apparently, Hope’s complaint too with Chief Salazar was he did not retract a comment he made to another newspaper in the area about the situation.
When asked about the reason for his complaint in regard to his request to place an item on the agenda, which clearly stated the reason as noted above, Hope replied via text “Wow, now who led you to believe that. That is totally incorrect. This is exactly why I didn’t want to do an article with The ECP.”
So back down the rabbit hole to understand what Hope was stating on his request to place an item on the council agenda and what the meeting that took place at his parent’s home with Walsh and Lindsey were all about and how Chief Salazar got involved in the entire mess.
It is still not clear what Walsh and Lindsey were trying to accomplish at Hope’s parent’s home, and since the two aldermen are not talking, it will remain unclear until they do share their story. Previously, they both denied Hope’s allegations.
Hope is talking, but it was uncertain exactly how the meeting agenda item and his parent’s meeting with the two aldermen were connected and furthermore, how Chief Salazar is connected and what the issue was with him telling residents goodbye after the evening’s council meeting.
The situation appeared to be ongoing, and it is not certain if the FBI would investigate the incident or not.