A New Year’s Day fistfight at a Midlothian Whataburger involving Ellis County Sheriff Johnny Brown, two college-aged men and Brown’s brother Bobby resulted in Sheriff Brown’s resignation Wednesday morning.
He pleaded guilty to one count of misdemeanor assault shortly thereafter.
According to reports from FOX 4 DFW and the Midlothian Mirror, two 21-year-olds from Killeen, Matthew Longoria and Caleb Tomgenovich, told police that Bobby Brown started the Jan. 1 fight after an altercation in the Whataburger parking lot. Video of the incident exists, but has not been released, according to FOX 4.
Brown, who served two terms as sheriff and was recently re-elected, admitted to assaulting Longoria early that morning.
A statement from Brown’s lawyer about the fight reads:
“Sheriff Brown walked into Whataburger in Midlothian where a fight was already in progress. His initial observation was a large white male assaulting Sheriff Brown’s 59-year-old brother and knocking him to the floor. As a sworn law enforcement officer, he is obligated to preserve the peace. He used the force and language necessary to end the violence, prevent further assaults, and protect others from being harmed.”
However, Brown was not wearing his badge (having just come from a Republican Women fundraiser) and acted as a civilian. At one point, according to FOX 4, Longoria said that when witnesses threatened to call the cops, Brown yelled, “We ARE the cops!”
On Wednesday morning, a post on Brown’s Facebook page read, “Good morning y’all. I need extra prayers today please. Y’all get your coffee and read Isaiah 41 verses 10-13. Have a great day.”
Brown later surrendered his peace officer license, was booked into the Wayne McCollum Detention Center and is now required to pay a $500 fine and about $272 in court costs.
Brown released a statement Wednesday stating that it “has been my honor to serve as the Sheriff of Ellis County, Texas for two terms and to have been re-elected by its citizens in the most recent election. I was involved in an unfortunate incident earlier this year which has reflected unfavorably upon me, and I do not want it to adversely impact the good men and women of the Ellis County Sheriff’s Office or the citizens we serve.
“I have accepted the judgment and sentencing of the court and will not file for new trial [sic] or an appeal. Additionally, I have decided to end my long career in law enforcement by permanently surrendering my Texas Peace Officer License and all certificates issued to me by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement.”