For Immediate Release
All Texas News Outlets
April 30, 2020
CLEAT Public Affairs
CLEAT to take Legal Action on behalf of COVID-19 Survivor Families
AUSTIN — The State’s largest law enforcement union announced today that it will seek to legally enforce Line of Duty Death benefits for all Texas law enforcement personnel.
The Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas, or CLEAT, will sue any political subdivision, law enforcement agency, and individual who rules any COVID-19 death as non-Duty related.
“Our state and federal government have failed through a lack of preparedness to supply life-saving PPE supplies for law enforcement, unnecessarily placing lives at risk,” said Charley Wilkison, the union’s Executive Director.
“The employee death toll at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice is already at five employees dead because of COVID-19. Scores of other law enforcement officers have been exposed, are sequestered, have tested positive, and are currently hospitalized,” Wilkison stated.
“We see no good reason for the working people of law enforcement to wait for the Government to get its act together. We’ve made the decision to take action to protect Texas’ finest and their families.”
CLEAT will represent survivor families, free of charge, regardless of union affiliation or membership in the filing of lawsuits as well as federal and state Line of Duty Death, LODD, claims.
“All government managers should consider this notice from the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas that any officer whose death is a result of COVID-19, should be considered Presumptive,” said CLEAT General Counsel Robert Leonard.
Any other ruling than a LODD, for a COVID-19 victim employed by the State of Texas or its political subdivisions, will be seen as a blatant attempt to avoid paying proper benefits to the survivor family, spouse and/or minor surviving children.
It is CLEAT’s intention to sue any entity that has refused to follow the reasonable tenets of cause and effect, loss, and benefit. By making sure that any COVID-19 law enforcement death is declared a LODD, we will automatically place the burden of proof on those political leaders who have failed to act.