Fire Tyrone Cooper

A four-month battle over public records that should have been released involving the arrest of NBA star Kendrick Perkins is still being fought in Judge Layne Walker’s court, but the truth is the fight is more about the cover-up at the highest levels of city government than it is about Perkins’ behavior and statements on the videos from that night.

There is no way to argue with the fact that Beaumont City Attorney Tyrone Cooper wanted to make the charges against Perkins “go away.” In fact, his comments to that effect are laid out in a court document obtained by The Examiner. And Cooper and his staff went to great lengths to try and keep the records a secret – denying media requests submitted properly under Texas law, using stall tactics by waiting until the last possible minute to request a ruling and playing a countdown game with the court in hopes Perkins’ expungement would come before the Texas attorney general ordered Cooper to give up the documents being sought by this newspaper.

But the question must be asked: Would the average Joe get the same deal that Perkins received? Our guess is no, especially given Perkins’ conduct that night.

In simple terms, when an ordinary citizen gets busted for public intoxication and disorderly conduct, they go to municipal court, pay a fine and go about their business. They aren’t allowed to cut secret backroom deals or have gag orders implemented to keep everything out of the media. But that is what happened in Perkins’ case. And to add insult to injury, Cooper and his minions worked to make Perkins’ charges “go away” even after knowing what Perkins said on the video recordings while he sat in the back of a Beaumont Police Department cruiser.

There is no doubt that had the average citizen behaved in such a manner, no special treatment would be afforded them. Again, in simple terms, who would have a better chance at leniency — a person who was contrite and apologetic for their actions or a person who was cursing, yelling and running down the very town they had publicly proclaimed to love?

The reason Cooper wanted the charges against Perkins to “go away” was so the NBA star and Beaumont native could immediately get his record expunged and no one would know how poorly he behaved the night he was arrested at a bar when he had previously promised dozens of children that he would attend and host a charity basketball game with some of his NBA pals.

Whether the records and videos are ever released is not the issue here; the issue is the children who were lied to and the cover-up by Cooper to help facilitate that lie. It’s time Beaumont City Council members take a stand and say they will no longer tolerate Cooper’s cover-ups.