Clovis police are investigating allegations a Gattis Middle School teacher slapped a student.
Yes, that teacher is Brandi Thomas, daughter of Clovis City Manager Joe Thomas.
Yes, Joe Thomas is the police chief’s boss.
So, yes, police are investigating criminal allegations against their boss’ daughter.
This will not end well for Brandi Thomas.
Either police will find evidence she committed a crime and she will be prosecuted. Or police will find no evidence of a crime and she’ll have to hear allegations that her father’s employees covered up her actions.
That’s not fair for anybody.
Irritation was evident in Police Chief Steve Sanders’ voice when we asked about potential conflict of interest on Friday.
“We treat everyone the same. It doesn’t matter who they are,” he insisted.
But there’s no need for Sanders to even have to field that question.
The Curry County sheriff’s office, state police, the district attorney’s office and law enforcement agencies in nearby communities all have personnel quite capable of conducting an open and independent investigation.
Of course, conflicts cannot always be avoided in small towns. We’re related to each other, play softball together, do business with one another.
Anyone who lives in Clovis and doesn’t know Joe Thomas probably doesn’t get out much.
But there’s a big difference between knowing someone and working for him. And when the suggestion of impropriety can be reduced, even eliminated, why not take that option?
Let’s be clear here: We’re not questioning the integrity of the city manager or the police department. But if investigators who work for Joe Thomas find no evidence Thomas’ daughter committed a crime, those claiming otherwise have every right to question the process.
The common-sense solution is for an outside agency to look into this case. Not because we don’t trust Chief Sanders or Joe Thomas, but because Brandi Thomas and her accuser deserve a resolution that’s not clouded with allegations of conflicts of interest or impropriety.
Unsigned editorials are the opinion of the Clovis News Journal’s editorial board, which consists of Publisher Mike Jensen and Editor David Stevens. All other views expressed on this page are those of their authors.