Former Bellmead assistant police chief arrested again on same charges from 2021

Latest arrest comes a month after district attorney dismissed charges against Brenda Kinsey
FILE PHOTO: Brenda Kinsey (City of Bellmead photo)
FILE PHOTO: Brenda Kinsey (City of Bellmead photo)(KWTX)
Published: Feb. 3, 2023 at 5:34 PM CST
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BELLMEAD, Texas (KWTX) - Former Bellmead Assistant Police Chief Brenda Kinsey was arrested again Friday on the same charges for which she was arrested in 2021.

Kinsey’s arrest comes a month after the McLennan County District Attorney’s Office dismissed those charges against her and a week before Kinsey’s attorney said she will sue the city of Bellmead.

Kinsey was released from the McLennan County Jail Friday after posting bonds totaling $4,000. She was arrested on misuse of official information and breach of computer security charges, complaints that arose from the same incident that led to her arrest and suspension in August 2021.

Kinsey’s arrest in 2021 came one day after Kinsey, who was seeking the vacant police chief job, filed a harassment and discrimination complaint against Bellmead City Manager Yost Zakhary, who also was serving as interim police chief at the time.

Asst. Bellmead Police Chief Brenda Kinsey, (left), was arrested by Bellmead Police in 2021, a...
Asst. Bellmead Police Chief Brenda Kinsey, (left), was arrested by Bellmead Police in 2021, a day after she filed a harassment and discrimination claim against her boss, City Manager Yost Zakhary (right).(McLennan Co. Jail photo, Bellmead city photo)

She was charged then only with misuse of official information, a third-degree felony. However, Bellmead police added the breach of computer security charge, a state jail felony, this time when seeking the new charges against Kinsey.

The McLennan County District Attorney’s Office dismissed the charge against Kinsey on Dec. 28, writing on the dismissal notice that the incident failed to meet the statutory elements of a crime because there was “insufficient evidence of economic gain or advantage.”

Arrest records in 2021 alleged that Kinsey was trying to find out the identity of her estranged husband’s potential love interest by asking a Bellmead dispatcher to run a Texas Law Enforcement Telecommunications System (TLETS) search for an Arkansas license plate on a woman’s car that was parked at her estranged husband’s home.

An affidavit alleges Kinsey led the dispatcher to believe the information was work-related and was to be given to the chief.

Bellmead police officials deferred comment Friday on the new charges against Kinsey to Bellmead City Attorney Charles Buenger.

Buenger said he consulted with District Attorney Josh Tetens about the new charges because “they are justified” and officials “wanted to get a pair of fresh eyes on the case” after former District Attorney Barry Johnson left office at the end of last year.

Tetens said Friday that his office will recuse itself from even reviewing the allegations because Kinsey conferred with him and his former law partner, Michel Simer, after her 2021 arrest when they were in private practice in Bellmead. Tetens will have to find a prosecutor in a nearby county willing to take the case, or refer it to the state attorney general’s office.

Kinsey’s civil attorney, Ryan Johnson, said the timing of Kinsey’s latest arrest is suspect because he is preparing a lawsuit against the city alleging Kinsey was discriminated against, harassed and retaliated against by Zakhary.

“I think it is all out of desperation,” Johnson said. “I think they know they are getting ready to get sued and they are just trying to ruin this woman’s life. I just think it is complete desperation to have a case for a year and not take it to a grand jury and to have it dismissed and then to refile it. Yost Zakhary is desperate and I think he knows that his time is coming to an end.”

Zakhary did not return phone messages Friday.

Johnson said Kinsey, a 21-year police veteran, was a decorated officer who was named “Woman of the Year” by the Bellmead Chamber of Commerce in 2021.

“If they are not careful, this is going to be malicious prosecution,” Johnson said.

Buenger said two attorneys appointed by the Bellmead City Council to investigate Kinsey’s allegations against Zakhary “found no wrongdoing” on his part.

Waco attorney Brandon Luce, who represents Kinsey in the criminal case, said he was surprised to learn that Bellmead police had resurrected the charges against Kinsey.

“It appears that she is being charged with the exact same crime she was charged with previously under the exact same set of circumstances,” Luce said. “It is my understanding that there is no new information now that existed when the DA’s office made the decision not to file these charges in December 2022.”

Kinsey had been under administrative suspension without pay since her 2021 arrest, but she was fired in early January, not long after the charges against her were dismissed, Johnson said.

Johnson also represented a Woodway city employee who alleged Zakhary sexually harassed her and fostered a hostile work environment. The then 17-year city employee settled her harassment lawsuit against Woodway in July 2018 for $50,000. Zakhary resigned the previous March as Woodway’s police chief and that April as city manager, after 39 years in Woodway.