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Bryan PD Assistant Chief arrested for assault after altercation at fundraising event

Posted at 9:56 AM, Feb 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-21 15:22:14-05

Assistant Chief Wayland Rawls of the Bryan Police Department was arrested for assault following an altercation at a fundraising event.

Bryan Police Chief Buske said during a press conference that formal charges have not been filed.

Lieutenant Dean Swartzlander will be the acting Assistant Chief while Rawls is investigated, according to Chief Buske.

The assistant chief was arrested on a Class A Misdemeanor Assault warrant, which was issued by the Brazos County attorney, following an investigation by the Texas Rangers. The Rangers conducted the investigation at the request of the Bryan Police Department.

The incident occurred during a fundraising event for the Allen Academy at the Astin Mansion on Feb. 8.

According to report, Assistant Chief Rawls was involved in a physical altercation with a man, who was also at the event. Several witnesses reported to Bryan PD that Assistant Chief Rawls strike the man with a closed fist multiple times. Witnesses also reported that the man never struck the assistant chief or attempted to fight him back.

The victim reportedly suffered an abrasion to the top of his head, a black eye, redness and bruising to his left cheek, a broken finger and bruising to the right side of his torso.

Assistant Chief Rawls reported to Bryan Police that the man put a hand up and touched Rawls's face, which provoked his reaction. The assistant chief confirmed with Bryan Police officers that he "reacted" and further stated he hit the victim several times. One officer said Rawls's ring could have done some damage, and Rawls responded, "I don't think I ever connected that way...I was trying, absolutely I was trying."

The Rangers conducted multiple interviews with witnesses in the following days. The witnesses stated they observed the altercation and described Assistant Chief Rawls pushing and ultimately striking the victim wit a closed fist several times in the head and body. Witnesses told the Rangers the victim never fought back and only put his hands up in defense to Rawls's strikes.

Witnesses also said they observed the initial interaction between Rawls and the victim, and said they never saw the victim place his hand on Rawls's face. According to the witnesses, the victim did nothing to initiate the physical altercation.

Assistant Chief Rawls was placed on paid administrative leave following the incident and will continue in that status pending the outcome of the police department’s internal investigation.