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Benefits Denied: KFDM Investigative Report Wednesday at 10

KFDM SPECIAL INVESTIGATION - Watch KFDM News Wednesday night at 10 for our special investigative report: Benefits Denied.


A Vietnam veteran says his wife is in declining health that has left her unable to work, and yet he says the government has continued to deny her benefits through the Social Security Disability Insurance program.


"It's very stressful, and it gets me very angry at the federal government because they don't want to do anything to help her," Stephen Gibson told KFDM News. "She's worked over 40 years and she deserves this now?"


Gibson and his wife, Donna, have been married 44 years. He served in Vietnam and is a disabled veteran. Gibson told us his wife began getting sick a decade ago and suffer from seizures, dementia and other medical problems.


He tells us he's reached out to senators and the federal government and has hit nothing but roadblocks. Gibson believes the denial of the insurance claim is part of a larger problem in the United States: the way this nation treats its veterans.


Wednesday night at 10, Haley Bull investigates what Gibson calls his long-running battle for his wife's well-being and the benefits he says the government has wrongfully denied.

Protestors march after Chicago Police release video of fatal shooting

Protesters took to the streets of Chicago Tuesday evening after graphic video showing the fatal shooting of a teenager was released by authorities.


Watch KFDM News at 10 for the latest developments and video from Chicago. 


The video shows a 2014 interaction between Officer Jason Van Dyke and Laquan McDonald during which Van Dyke fatally shot McDonald.


According to reports from the bond hearing, Van Dyke shot 16 rounds at McDonald in about 14 seconds, and was reloading when another officer told him to "hold his fire."

Video of protesters making their way through the streets showed the crowd chanting, "16 shots," as they walked.  


Click here for the latest information and video

Newton County Feud: KFDM special investigation

In a county spanning hundreds of miles, where everyone seem to know everyone else, a feud is brewing between county officials, evident in recent federal court filings.

Now, Sheriff Eddie Shannon is turning to the legal system in getting help in his fight against some in the rural county.

"We're here to make sure that those elected officials, the good 'ole boy association, is not above the law," his attorney, Melissa Moore said.

They've filed a civil lawsuit in Beaumont federal court against Shannon's former secretary, his former chief deputy, the county, the county judge, county commissioners, the district attorney, a Texas Ranger and the Texas Department of Public Safety. Shannon claims his constitutional rights were violated and his name was defamed.

"It is literally almost unbelievable. It's something that you should only see in a movie because the things that transpired and the officials, the things the elected officials did against the sheriff are just, it's unfathomable and shouldn't be happening in this day and age," Moore said.

According to a criminal case against Shannon last year, some witnesses claimed the sheriff became upset after a commissioner's court meeting and threatened county officials. One testified in part, claiming the sheriff said " you know anybody terminally ill that I could go up there and shoot every one of them.."

Shannon said he did not make a terroristic threat or threaten to kill anyone.

"It puts a black mark on your name, you know, whether you did or didn't," he said.

He was indicted, put on leave, but then in less than one hour of deliberations, a jury in San Augustine County found him not guilty.

The civil case filed by Shannon claims the criminal charge was part of a conspiracy by northern county officials to oust Shannon from office after he became the first elected sheriff from the southern part of the county, running as a reform candidate and defeating the incumbent sheriff in the primary.

One key point in the civil lawsuit read: "Politically speaking, the residents in the northern and southern parts of the Newton County have a Hatfield-McCoy type relationship: they do not get along, and they do not trust each other."

"I want this to be exposed. I don't want this to happen to nobody else," Shannon said. "I mean, I would not want anybody, even my worst enemy, to go through what I was put through. I want it out in the open. I want them all to see."

The civil case weaves together what Shannon calls the relationships between the investigating Texas Ranger and county officials, potential holes in the investigation, and what the civil lawsuit claims were the political ambitions of Shannon's chief deputy, Cynthia Hall. She testified against him during the criminal case and has declared her candidacy for sheriff next year.

An attorney for the county defendants told KFDM News in part, "The county defendants deny liability and deny they violated any of Mr. Shannon's rights, and are vigorously defending the lawsuit."

Their attorney and attorneys for the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas Ranger have all filed motions to dismiss the case, arguing in part there are no facts to support the claims in the civil case.

"Sheriff Shannon ran on the platform that he wanted to make sure that everyone is held accountable and that's what furthering in filing this civil lawsuit is about," Moore said. "It's making sure that everyone in Newton County is held to the same standard as everyone else. Despite whether or not you're an elected official."

One elected official is now in a legal battle with others in Newton County, left for a judge to decide while the sheriff focuses on his job of serving the citizens.

"I'm there to try to make Newton County a better place for my son, theirs sons and daughters to grow up," Shannon said.

 Shannon said he is planning to run for re-election. His attorney has until December 9 to file a response to the motions to dismiss the case. You can read the case in full and motions by clicking on the links below:

Shannon lawsuit: SHANNON CASE.pdf

Newton County motion to dismiss:

DPS motion to dismiss: mtd.pdf


Haralson motion to dismiss: motion to dismiss.pdf 



Thanksgiving Store helps hundreds of families for the holiday

BEAUMONT - A large crowd turned out for the annual Thanksgiving Store hosted by Some Other Place.


Every year, the non-profit in Beaumont makes it possible for hundreds of client/families to shop for all of the fixins' for a Thanksgiving meal and bring it home to cook for their loved ones.


Watch KFDM News at 5, 6 and 10 for the heartwarming story and what one family says it means to them.

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