CLEAT demands justice for Holmes’ family

Published 6:25 pm Monday, July 13, 2015

BEAUMONT — The family of Chief Deputy Constable Martin J. “Popeye” Holmes along with members of the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas held a press conference in front of the Jefferson County Courthouse Monday demanding justice from the County.
Charley Wilkinson, executive director of CLEAT, was flanked by members of Holmes’ family including his wife Pat Holmes and son, Port Arthur Police Det. Mark Holmes, family friends and other members of law enforcement. Some family and friends held posters with the deceased lawman’s photo demanding justice.
The group contends Holmes died from injuries suffered in the line of duty and his family has been denied his death benefits.
In August 2012, Chief Deputy Constable Holmes, 81 was serving an eviction notice in Port Arthur when he suffered severe injuries from a fall. CLEAT and family believe the injuries led to his death on Sept. 19, 2013 He was formerly the oldest active peace officer in the State of Texas.
CLEAT is fighting to allow Holmes’ widow’s claim of her husbands service benefits.
Wilkinson pointed out the family and supporters saying it’s not about a number, it’s about a person and the family.
“This is not about money,” Wilkinson said. “Someone screwed up and made an idiot decision.”
Wilkinson also named Jefferson County Constable Eddie Collins saying the man failed to investigate the events surrounding Holmes’ fall and the County refused to acknowledge the injuries and death were suffered in the line of duty.
“His name is engraved along with more than 1,500 others on the monument at the Texas Capitol that honors peace officers who died in the line of duty,” he said. “But the very agency he served for the last years of his long career has chosen to dishonor his service and sacrifice.”
During his career Holmes worked as a Port Arthur Police officer and a Groves Police officer, a deputy with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, an agent with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission and a Jefferson County Constable. In 2011 he was named the recipient of the East Texas Peace Officers Association’s Award of Excellence because of his tenure in law enforcement.
“There was no police report filed,” he said. “They let a man injured in the line of duty burn up his vacation time instead of pay. This was mishandled from the first day.”
Wilkinson said the constables office was responsible for filing a report in the incident.
The CLEAT executive director said they have seen similar cases but this is the worst.
“We will pursue these people until the ends of the world,” he said.
A hearing will be held Tuesday in Beaumont regarding Holmes’ benefits.
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