DALLAS (AP) _ The police chief was fired Wednesday after he was indicted for allegedly lying to a panel investigating his dismissal of an officer.
Mack Vines was charged with one misdemeanor perjury count by a Dallas County grand jury and fired by City Manager Jan Hart. Vines, 52, chief for two years, had been suspended with pay last month.
The grand jury rejected the district attorney’s recommendation that Vines be indicted on seven felony perjury counts.
″I am surprised and saddened by the precipitous action that has been taken by the Dallas city manager. I plan to ... fight the minor legal charge returned by the grand jury,″ Vines said in a statement.
At a news conference, Ms. Hart said the dismissal was in the best interests of the city. ″The issue is really one ... of public confidence and trust,″ she said.
Prosecutors had urged felony charges against Vines for statements he made in August to a panel investigating the firing of Dallas police officer Patrick LeMaire. Details of his testimony were not released.
LeMaire was fired in June 1989, about two weeks after he killed a Mexican man. He was reinstated last July by a civil service panel that said Vines did not justify the dismissal. He did not rejoin the Dallas force.
Assistant District Attorney Ted Steinke said Wednesday that he thought the evidence was sufficient to convict Vines on the felony charges, but he would not contest the grand jury’s decision.
″The grand jury has spoken. They have acted as the conscience of the community,″ Steinke said. ″We respect that decision.″
Vines faces a maximum penalty of one year in jail and a $2,000 fine if convicted.