LANSING – An attorney for Rep. Jewell Jones denies the lawmaker was in a car accident prior to his arrest on April 6 for drunk, reckless driving and defying police.
However, the version of events that Dearborn attorney Ali Hammoud provided on Monday is in many ways at odds with reports of police incidents that the Free Press received through the Michigan Freedom of Information Act, but also to a police video of the incident published online.
Jones, D-Inkster, 26, who spent the night in Livingston County Jail following the incident, has a hearing in Howell 53rd District Court on Tuesday. His preliminary examination is scheduled for May 4, but Hammoud said he would likely ask for that hearing to be delayed.
Police say they tasered Jones, 26, twice and gave him a shot of pepper spray in the eyes during a fight on the side of Interstate 96 in Livingston County.
According to police reports, Jones – whose blood alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit – drove his car into the ditch after police received multiple reports of a similar vehicle that drove erratically on the freeway, with the driver on the freeway Rad seemed to be asleep.
When soldiers arrived on the scene, Jones was in an argument with a paramedic who had loaded Jones’ unidentified passenger into an ambulance with unidentified injuries. Jones wanted to get on the ambulance with the passenger and the emergency officer declined, according to police incident reports and the dash cam video.
The video, posted by a reporter from Michigan Information & Research Service Inc., a Capitol newsletter, shows a soldier repeatedly asking Jones for his driver’s license and ID and telling Jones to relax and not do anything stupid . Jones repeatedly refuses to show his ID and at some point asks the soldier if he can whisper in his ear. After several inquiries, the soldier and a second soldier standing behind Jones move to grab Jones, and a fight ensues in which the three fall to the ground and wrestle in the shallow trench.
According to the report, the soldiers deployed a taser in “stunning” mode towards Jones’ upper left shoulder area twice during the battle, but Jones still would not adhere to it and allow officers to handcuff him.
Tasers have two modes: The “stun” mode delivers a powerful shock, but does not fire barb arrows like the other, more debilitating mode does. After warning Jones, a soldier gave Jones a shot of pepper spray in the eyes, the report said. A third officer arrived and Jones was reportedly handcuffed.
“I clearly think that it is excessive use of force by the police,” said Hammoud.
Shanon Banner, a Michigan State Police spokeswoman, declined to respond to Hammoud’s claims, referring instead to the police reports and video.
When asked about Jones’ refusal to show his ID, Hammoud said the police had no reason to request his ID and said there was no evidence of a crime or traffic violation.
“There was no evidence of alcohol,” said Hammoud.
More:According to the police report, lawmakers told the arrest of soldiers that they would call Whitmer
More:Prosecutor: The soldiers used tasers and pepper spray on Rep. Jewell Jones
But the police report said when the first soldier arrived at the scene, Jones appeared to be highly intoxicated.
“There was a strong smell of intoxicants and his speech was hazy when he spoke,” the report said. “His eyes were red bloodshot and glassy and his fine motor skills were poor.”
When asked if Jones would not allow the police to handcuff him, Hammoud said again that the police had no reason to handcuff Jones.
The black 2017 Chevy Tahoe with the “ELECTED” vanity top that Jones drove cannot be seen in the dash cam video, which appears to have been blocked by the ambulance.
Hammoud said there was no accident and the car wasn’t in the ditch.
The police report said officers arrived to find out that “a black SUV was down in the ditch”.
When asked why Jones’ passenger needed an ambulance to the hospital if Jones wasn’t in an accident, Hammoud said he couldn’t answer that. He said the passenger may have vomited on the side of the road when the ambulance arrived.
The Free Press previously reported that Jones told soldiers he was responsible for their budget and threatened to call Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. The video shows Jones in the back seat of a patrol car asking officers to call Michigan State Police director Col. Joe Gasper and tell him who they were handcuffed.
The police found a loaded pistol in the cup holder next to the driver’s seat.
Jones, who refused medical treatment at the time of his arrest, suffered injuries to his eyes from the pepper spray and an injury from the stun gun, Hammoud said.
Contact Paul Egan: 517-372-8660 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @ paulegan4. Read more about politics in Michigan and subscribe to our election newsletter.
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