By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Last week, Dallas County Commissioner Ken Mayfield asked new District Attorney Craig Watkins to investigate the bizarre plight of Angel Martinez, the friend and purported paramour of Dupree, who had Martinez arrested in December on a warrant for a pair of traffic charges. A spokeswoman for Watkins says that Mayfield's request has been forwarded to the office's Public Integrity Division.
"I think it bears investigation. It sounds like it could be an official oppression case," says Mayfield, who adds that his colleague Commissioner John Wiley Price has also asked for an official inquiry. "It looks like it was a retaliation for spurned advances, and he should be held accountable for it."
In a pair of interviews with the Dallas Observer earlier this month, a remarkably candid Dupree said that he had been intimate with the 20-year-old Honduran before having one of his officers arrest the troubled Martinez in an attempt to rescue the man from a Central American gang. Later, Dupree said that he visited Martinez and put an immigration hold on the young man, which prevented him from being released from jail until he had an immigration hearing.
Dupree's own account of his actions was hardly flattering and wound up infuriating leaders in both the gay and Latino communities. But subsequent weeks have been even worse for the 50-year-old elected official. Martinez came forward and angrily disputed the constable's claim that he was merely trying to help the young man, while Martinez's girlfriend, Connie Jonez, depicted the constable as a man consumed by jealousy. It all adds up to a messy soap opera with a law enforcement officer filling the star role.
As perhaps the highest-profile constable in Dallas County, Mike Dupree commands around 35 deputies, all of whom have full police powers. Although Dupree and his deputies are primarily charged with serving civil warrants, they have also conducted prostitution stings and seized illegal weapons, often earning publicity for their department in the process. Now, though, Dupree finds himself in an odd and bitter scandal that shows no sign of dimming anytime soon.
Last week, a federal immigration judge ordered Martinez to leave the United States after he admitted to entering the country illegally near Hidalgo in 2004. The Dallas Voice, a gay and lesbian newspaper that covered the hearing, reported that Martinez "visibly hesitated" before accepting the judge's ruling.
A day or two later, the young man called his girlfriend in tears.
"He doesn't know what's going on; he just knows he was set up," says Jonez. "He was crying because he doesn't want to go back. He says he doesn't like it there. He is really, really upset."
That's not what Dupree suggested would happen when he spoke to us earlier this month. He said that his ex-lover was "grateful" that the constable intervened to help get him out of the country. Dupree said that although he and Martinez were intimate several times, their relationship ultimately became more like father-and-son than anything else. Martinez, though, ultimately rebelled against his "papa," Dupree claimed, saying that the once well-behaved kid abruptly descended into a life of drugs and gangs.
Dupree's own story seems like the stuff of a prime-time drama. The Oak Cliff-area constable says that Martinez somehow found himself a target of the deadly MS-13, a brutal Central American gang. He was using drugs and possibly selling them as well. Bereft of hope and scared for his life, a tearful Martinez met Dupree at the parking lot of a grocery store and pleaded for help.
The constable had a solution. He had learned that his young companion had a warrant for his arrest for a pair of traffic charges, so Dupree had one of his officers apprehend Martinez at the constable's own apartment. Dupree then claimed he put an immigration hold on Martinez, which paved the way for him to be deported to Honduras, a nation that is not exactly a haven from gang violence. Still, Martinez told the constable he wanted to go back home and be with his mother.
"'I need help, please help me,'" Dupree says Martinez told him. "And I said, 'OK, are you going to be mad at the way I'm helping you?' And he said, 'No, Dad, I won't get mad.' That's what he called me."
That may be the one part of Dupree's story that everyone agrees on. In an interview with the Observer last week from the Rolling Plains Detention Facility in West Texas, Martinez said that he did regard Dupree as his "papa" but that he was never romantically involved with the constable. He said that the rest of Dupree's story of how he had him arrested for his own good is simply not true.
"It's all a lie," said a friend of Martinez who served as his translator.
People close to Martinez say that while he looked up to the middle-aged constable as a father figure, he never took on the role of the man's lover. Rather, Dupree pursued him, and when Martinez repeatedly spurned his advances and took up with a stripper, the constable used his badge to settle the score.