GEORGETOWN, Texas -- Williamson County Judge Dan Gattis was indefinitely suspended (with pay) from judicial duties Thursday, Aug. 16 due to an alleged threatening tweet he made to Sheriff Robert Chody.
Gattis was charged in July with official oppression by county prosecutors after he allegedly threatened to strip funding from Sheriff Robert Chody over tweets he didn't like.
The charge was the result of an encounter between Gattis and Chief Deputy Sheriff Tim Ryle at commissioners court Tuesday, according to officials.
"“He stuck his finger in my chest — he didn’t actually touch me — and said, ‘Tell that sheriff if he doesn’t quit tweeting, I’m going zero his budget out,’” Chief Deputy Tim Ryle told the American-Statesman and KVUE Wednesday. “My comment to him was, 'Judge, are you sure you want to say that?' He said, ‘Yes, tell him to stop tweeting about me and my people.’”
Ryle submitted a sworn criminal complaint to county prosecutors, who brought the charge against Gattis.
Gattis could not immediately be reached for comment at his office Wednesday afternoon.
County officials issued a summons for Gattis, who is the county's top executive, to come to state district court in lieu of being arrested on the misdemeanor charge.
Chody said he was surprised to hear about the alleged threat.
He said he thinks it is the result of several recent tweets in which he questioned the operations of county government. But Chody said he never mentioned Gattis.
"It demonstrates the mentality that me and some fellow elected officials have been dealing with,” Chody said. “I am surprised that it would be escalated to a threat. That is the environment that has been set up by some leaders in this county.”