City Commissioner Speaks About His Arrest | News

Title (Max 100 Characters)

City Commissioner Speaks About His Arrest
News, People, Politics
City Commissioner Speaks About His Arrest

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- A St. Augustine City Commissioner Errol Jones is puzzled about what happened Saturday night and why police arrested him this past weekend.

Jones spoke with First Coast News Monday about what led to his arrest.  He is charged with resisting an officer without violence.

According to the police report, police were investigating an assault at 60 Julia Street. That's where Jones' mother lives.  He said he had received a call from a relative at the home on Julia about an argument, so he went to the house just around the corner from his home to see what was going on.  Some officers with the St. Augustine Police Department were at the home.

During the officers' investigation, the report said a man came out of the garage, "rushing" at the officers.

However, Jones said he was never in the garage or in the house.

"I didn't recognize the black male due to a flood light over the garage blinding my vision," Officer M. Linsky wrote in the report.

Linsky reports that he told Jones to stop where he was, put up his hands and told the person to back up.

However, Jones said there are many inaccuracies in the report and he wonders if the officer wrote it that way to "cover his tracks."

Officer Linksy said in the report that "the subject then said 'do you know who I am' and grabbed a hold of my wrist."

Jones said that's not what happened.  He said he did not grab the officer, but the officer grabbed him on the arm.  "He said I grabbed his arm. Hello? There's no reason for me to grab his arm," Jones explained. "But he grabbed my arm to detain me and when he grabbed me I said 'don't touch me.'"  Jones made a motion to show he pushed the officer's hands away from him.

The officer wrote, "At that point I pulled out my handcuffs and tried to get a cuff on his wrist. The subject began pulling away from me and flailing his arms."

But Jones said when the cuffs went on his wrists, he kept asking why he was being arrested.

According to the report, the officers struggled with Jones for one minute. The officers say Jones was "intoxicated" and continued being irate, telling the officers they wouldn't have a job next week.

St. Augustine Police Chief Loren Leuders said the intoxication element of the case would have to be looked into.

However, Jones said he was not intoxicated. He said the reason the officer may have noticed alcohol on his breath is that he'd been watching football on television at home and had consumed a "couple of beers".

The police report then states, Once the subject was in hand cuffs, he continued saying to call the chief and that I was going to be fired."

Jones was booked into jail on a charge of resisting an officer without violence. He bonded out three hours later.

Chief Leuders said, "There's a provision in there (the statute) that says you can't interfere with a police officer in the performance of his duty." He said Jones was interfering with the investigation at the house on Julia Street.

However, Jones said, "They're suggesting I'm interfering with what? I never stepped in front of them and said she doesn't need this or that. I did not have any conversation. So there was no interference in that manner."

St. Augustine Police Chief Loren Leuders told First Coast News this morning he supports the officers' actions.

The chief said they did the right thing.

One of the officers has been with the force since 2009.  The other, who Errol Jones reportedly called a rookie, has been with the force for three years.

Jones has been a St. Augustine City Commissioner for ten years and his four-year term expires in December 2012.

Leuders also released the following statement to media outlets:

The St. Augustine Police Department treats all of our citizens the same. We apply the law fairly and equally to everyone. We stand behind our officers' decisions in this situation and we believe we did not do anything wrong. I have conferred with the City Manager and I suggested to him in order to answer any concerns of our citizens, I will ask The Florida Department of Law Enforcement for an independent investigation of this incident.

Jones said he will challenge the arrest legally.

Jones said St. Augustine has a "good police department for the most part."  He added, "Once in a while you get a police officer who is over zealous." 

Generally speaking, Jones said, "I'm angry. I'm embarrassed. I'm disappointed. I'm concerned." He said he's concerned that some officers do not handle themselves appropriately.

Chief Leuders said, "I believe they (the officers) did not do anything wrong."

Commissioner Jones and Chief Leuders were both at the St. Augustine City Commission meeting Monday night in their official capacities.

News, People, Politics

St. Augustine Deals

St. Augustine Businesses