Longtime officer terminated following investigation

Published 4:48 pm Thursday, June 8, 2017

A longtime Port Arthur Police officer has been terminated from his position following an internal investigation.

In late February five officers were placed on administrative leave.

On Thursday, the city’s spokesperson confirmed that one of those officers, Mickey Sterling, was terminated. Further details were not provided.

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“Mr. (Mickey) Sterling is afforded certain rights of appeal under the civil service statute,” Risa Carpenter, public information officer with the city of Port Arthur, said. “In order to maintain the confidentiality and integrity of the hearing process the city is not able to comment on the circumstances of his termination at this time.”

Of the officers initially placed on leave, veteran officer Maj. John Owens was reinstated and reassigned to a different rank at the department. Sgt. Kris Boneau was also reinstated. He has since moved on to another police department and Deputy Chief Raymond Clark retired.

Sgt. Scott Gaspard retired early

Sterling was one of the officers named in an affidavit alleging wrongdoing within the department.

Det. Elie Van Horn, citing the Texas Whistleblower Act filed the affidavit against other officers in the department. His sworn, notarized affidavit told of issues ranging from obstruction or retaliation and misuse of official information to official oppression involving five fellow officers.

The affidavit, signed Feb. 17, was obtained through an open records request to the Texas Department of Public Safety.

The affidavit contends that Gaspard and Sterling “intentionally set out to retaliate against a citizen, whose family member is missing and has not been found. Once this citizen came forward to make a formal complaint after almost a year of no action by the police or true investigation.”

The allegation further states both officers worked to discredit and intimidate the citizen going so far as to obtain a search warrant with the intent to uncover what the complainant/victim knew was an improper relationship that could have directly affected Gaspard’s personal life.

In addition, the affidavit further contends Gaspard and Sterling obtained personal, restricted information on people using a special law enforcement search engine. They allegedly used the information they found to discredit “anyone who thought differently than them or was not going along with their ways.”

More recently, in May two more officers were placed on paid administrative leave including Rickey Antoine, a popular traffic officer. The two officers are also being investigated on unrelated allegations. Carpenter said those officers remain on the force though still on leave.