Bryan Assistant Police Chief arrested for assault has prior assault charge

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BRYAN, Tex., (KBTX) - A Bryan Assistant Police Chief arrested this week for assault causing bodily injury has been charged with that crime before, KBTX has learned.

According to the probable cause report, witnesses said the victim never fought back and only put his hands up in defense of Wayland Rawl's repeated strikes.

Wayland Rawls, 47, turned himself in Wednesday after the Texas Rangers investigated an incident that happened between Rawls and another man on Feb. 8 at a school fundraiser event. Witnesses said Rawls punched the man several times in the head and body causing injuries.

KBTX has been taking a closer look at Rawls' background and found he was charged with misdemeanor assault causing bodily injury in Harris County back in 1991.

Rawls' attorney reached out to KBTX Thursday. He says Rawls was never convicted of the 1991 assault, but rather received deferred adjudication in 1992 and it was terminated in 1993. KBTX is working to get copies of court documents from Harris County.

Rawls was promoted to Assistant Police Chief in Bryan in October 2007.

Police Chief Eric Buske declined interview requests Wednesday and Thursday but will speak publicly Friday at 2 P.M. for the first time since Rawls's arrest.

It took more than a week for Rawls to be booked into the Brazos County Detention Center.

KBTX has reviewed recent arrest records in other criminal investigations and found most suspects were arrested within a couple of days of when the assaults are reported.

We asked Justice of the Peace Kenny Elliott about the process. He said there was no special treatment on his part signing the misdemeanor arrest warrant this week.

"Usually with police officers, they don't just go show up at the door and arrest them," said John Quinn, a Defense Attorney in Bryan.

"They call them and say, 'Hey, we have a warrant. Why don’t you come turn yourself in? We’ll meet you at the jail or at the police station or wherever' and then he’s processed in. He’s allowed to bail out and then he’s going to end up being set for court," said Quinn, who is also a former police officer.

Rawls initially told police the assault was a reaction to another man first touching his face, but multiple witnesses interviewed by the Texas Rangers said the attack by Rawls appeared unprovoked.

Witnesses also said the alleged victim never fought back.

Quinn said Rawls has a right to defend himself, but law enforcement has to determine if there is a crime.

"Whether those defenses apply or not is something a police officer is going to have to decide and that's difficult to do, so I could see them wanting to get a prosecutor to weigh in on that instead of just making the decision themselves. That to me justifies the delay in not just arresting him right after it happened," said Quinn.

Quinn says having an outside investigation is typical for these cases.

"The Rangers are supposed to be the cream of the crop as far as the law enforcement goes in Texas. So I really do think they're going to do their job and find out what really happened and we'll go from there," said Quinn.

Rawls if out of jail after posting $4,000 bond Wednesday.

Editor's Note: A previous version of this story said Mr. Rawls was convicted of assault from 1991. Publicly available information shows that Mr. Rawls was charged with assault and given deferred adjudication. The records also show he was convicted. We have amended this story with information from Mr. Rawls attorney and are working to get copies of the 1991 arrest report and court documents.