A Louisiana doctor is suing the City of Kyle and its former police chief in a federal lawsuit for allegations of harassment.
Glen Hurlston is also pressing charges against the City of Princeton, Texas. Hurlston said the cities’ municipalities are liable for allowing former employees, Police Chief Jeff Barnett and Lieutenant Robert Mitchnik, to harass him. The suit alleges Barnett abused his power because he was having an affair with Glen Hurlston’s now ex-wife Suzanne Besse.
Hurlston said Barnett’s relationship with Besse compelled the police chief to order Princeton officers, including Mitchnik, on Dec. 31, 2012 to falsely arrest the doctor, according to court documents. According to a police report, Hurlston was charged with a third degree felony for allegedly choking his wife at their shared residence.
Hurlston said Princeton police allegedly waged a “campaign of harassment” for almost a year after the arrest, according to court documents.
In his complaint, Hurlston claims Barnett and Besse engaged in a conspiracy to extort “substantial sums of money” from the doctor by having him falsely arrested, according to court documents.
Hurlston further argues in his complaint Barnett and Besse sought to remove him from the Hurlstons’ family home to better pursue their romantic affair, according to court documents.
Barnett began a romantic relationship with Besse in 2006 in Princeton. However, Barnett claims he did not have a personal relationship with Besse at the time of Glen Hurlston’s arrest, according to the court documents.
Hurlston and his attorney argue Besse maintained a romantic relationship with Barnett in 2011, according to court documents. According to Hurlston’s complaint, Besse gave birth to Barnett’s child, a baby boy named Jeffrey Blake in March 2011.
The complaint has the potential to win monetary compensation from any and all of the defendants, including the Cities of Kyle and Princeton, said JR Crawford, a juris doctor working for the Houston law firm Broemer & Associates.
Winning a financial reward from Kyle or Princeton will require Hurlston and his attorney to convince the court the municipalities were liable for Barnett or Mitchnik’s actions, Crawford said. Civil cases against municipalities are often more difficult to prove than those aimed at individuals.
At this point, the case could go to court, be dismissed or end in a settlement, Crawford said.
“A lot of settlements are often made right on the courthouse steps,” Crawford said.
Kyle officials and administrators stand in support of Burnett, claiming the lawsuit to be frivolous and “without merit, substance or viability,” according to a city press release.
Barnett served as chief of police for Kyle from May 2011 until May of this year when he was placed on paid administrative leave for an unrelated investigation, said Jerry Hendrix, chief of staff for Kyle. Princeton employed Barnett as chief of police from 2005 until 2011, Hendrix said.
Hurlston alleges Barnett was able to orchestrate the arrest through personal ties with friends and former colleagues in the Princeton Police Department, according to court documents. Barnett was serving as chief of police for Kyle at the time of the arrest.
A Kyle city official conducted an investigation on Burnett in February 2012 after receiving a complaint but continued to employ him as chief of police, Hendrix said.
The U.S. District Court’s Eastern District of Texas received Hurlston’s complaint in December 2013, according to court records. The case is currently pending trial.