Three-term Grayson County Precinct 4 Constable Bob Douglas was labeled racist during the county Commissioners Court meeting Tuesday by local real estate agent Donny J. Neill. Douglas wasn’t present for the meeting, but denied the accusation during a phone interview Tuesday afternoon.
The accusation stemmed from remarks Neill said were made after he sold a house to a Latino family. The house is across the street from Douglas’ home in Van Alstyne.
“We have a constable, Bobby Douglas, who did call me on Jan. 10 — his wife sent me a message on Facebook and said, ‘Call me ASAP,’” Neill said. “I called and she said, ‘Bobby ran next door and ran off a bunch of Mexicans.’”
Neill said he explained that was the new family moving in and then called the new homeowner and asked that Neill be allowed to try to solve the situation. Neill said when he arrived at the home, Douglas was standing in the yard of his residence and then got in his truck and left.
“I get a phone call from Bobby Douglas moments later, and he says, … ‘I can’t believe you moved a bunch of d— Mexicans in on me,’” Neill said. “I paused for just a moment and I said, ‘Bobby what did you say?’ He said, ‘I can’t believe that you’d run a bunch of Mexicans in on top of me here.’”
When the comments Douglas allegedly said were read to him, Douglas said the accusations weren’t true.
“No, I didn’t say that,” Douglas said. “I just asked him who he sold it (the house) to.”
Speaking during the public comment section of the commissioners’ weekly meeting, Neill said he told Douglas the new tenants didn’t have any issues with living across the street from the elected official.
“And I said, ‘Bobby, I talked to (the homeowner) myself about where the property is, and he assured me he has no problem with living across the street from a racist constable,’” Neill said.
During a phone interview with Neill Tuesday afternoon, the real estate agent said as far as he knows, the homeowner doesn’t know about any of the alleged remarks by Douglas.
“I’ve tried to protect his family,” Neill said of the new homeowner. “Because this is their first home to purchase and I don’t want this to taint his view of Grayson County, to be a stain on his first homeownership. If you’re Hispanic, you feel like you already feel like you have to watch out for the law anyway.”
When asked whether Neill not telling the homeowner about the alleged remarks meant that Neill’s phone comment to Douglas about the homeowner having no problem living across the street from a “racist constable” wasn’t true, Neill indicated it was not.
“It’s true that I said that to Bobby Douglas,” Neill said. “All I’ve told (the homeowner) is there is Constable Douglass across the street and he is a good man.”
Douglas said he does recall Neill making that remark on the phone.
“But with 33 years in law enforcement, I don’t really see how I’m going to be racist,” Douglas said, stating he has no ill feelings toward other races. “Mr. Neill doesn’t know me as well as he thinks he does. I worked with Hispanics putting (U.S.) Highway 75 in. That’s when I started a relationship with Hispanics and learning the Spanish language. I’ve worked around them and with them most of my life.”
Douglas said he couldn’t remember whether he’d ever referred to Latino people in general as “Mexicans.”
“Are they not Mexican nationals?” Douglas said. “Hispanics or Mexicans or Spaniards or … it’s up to the individual what he calls them I guess.”
The county constable said Neill’s political aspirations were the only reason he could think of for Neill making the statements about him.
“Is this because he wants to run for constable the next time it comes up?” Douglas said. “That’s the only thing I can think of why he’s making all this noise. That’s certainly an option, isn’t it?”
Neill said he’s looking to protect the new homeowner’s family and any other person that might get bullied.
“We’re better people than that — we’re not living in the ’40s — especially if we ask for the people to trust us and put us in office — we have an obligation,” Neill said. “I have no aspirations, especially to be a constable. That’s the first I’ve ever heard of that. I’ve always had the utmost respect for Bob, this is the first time I’ve seen anything that would deter me from ever wanting him to carry a badge and a gun in my county.”
Douglas said he was first elected as Precinct 4’s constable in 2008 and began his third term at the beginning of the year.
“I’m in my third term and the only way he can make me look bad is going before the council and telling lies about me, I guess,” Douglas said. “But the people in my precinct have re-elected me three times.”
After placing a call to Douglas’ cellphone Tuesday evening to ask a follow-up question, the Herald Democrat was told on the advice of his attorney, Douglas would not comment further.