BREWSTER COUNTY, Texas (KOSA) - A federal lawsuit filed by the Freedom From Religion Foundation over crosses on sheriff department vehicles in Brewster County has been settled, according to a FFRF representative and county officials.
FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor said the lawsuit was brought on by the organization after the Brewster County Sheriff’s Department displayed crosses on its vehicles. The measure was on Brewster County Commissioner’s Agenda.
Gaylor said it was believed the county judge would sign a settlement awarding FFRF approximately $14,000 in legal fees. According to the Brewster County Judge's Office, they also agreed to nominal damages of $1.00 each to two plaintiffs.
Gaylor said the sheriff’s office removed the crosses early on after the lawsuit was filed.
“We are very delighted that our lawsuit has been resolved so quickly and amicably,” said FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. “The five Latin crosses on the Sheriff’s vehicles were taken down almost immediately, which was a good faith effort by Brewster County to make sure they were not proselytizing the public through the Sheriff’s Department. We knew very early in March that reason and the constitution would prevail.”
Brewster County released a statement as follows:
"Brewster County Commissioners Court held a called meeting on Tuesday May 31, 2016 at 9:00 A.M.. After a brief Executive Session, Commissioner’s Court voted unanimously to accept the Consent Decree and Order as presented and authorize Brewster County Judge, Eleazar Cano, to sign the Order. The Consent Decree and Order was drafted in response to pending litigation styled as Freedom From Religion Foundation et al. v Brewster County, Texas et al. The Consent Decree shall not be construed as an admission of liability and is entered solely to resolve the claims brought forth in this lawsuit and to rectify claimed constitutional violations associated with the display at issue in this lawsuit. Brewster County’s insurance carrier has agreed to pay legal fees and costs related to the suit and nominal damages ($1.00 ea.) to the two Plaintiffs,"