New state GOP ethnic vice chair defends checkered past

Darwin Jiles, Jr. was recently elected as the vice-chairman of the Michigan Republican party. But since then, there's been nothing but controversy.

This past weekend Jiles was voted into party leadership. He's been on the job for less than a week and he's already making waves but for all the wrong reasons.

FOX 2: "Did you shoot the guy?"

"Well actually there was a physical altercation in which my gun discharged," Giles said.

Jiles, 29, is the Michigan Republican Party's new ethnic vice chair.

He has the tall order of selling the GOP to minority voters, but sources say he sold party leaders a bill of goods about his past.

Now some say it's coming back to haunt him, however he calls it something else.

"We should really frown on smear campaigns and nonsense and malicious attacks," he said.

Last year Jiles copped a misdemeanor for shooting an ex-con whom he says he mentored.

"I was only fearing for my life and protecting myself," Jiles said.

He's now on probation.

But the 2014 shooting isn't the jaw dropper. Party leaders are said to have known about that, although there is a second police matter.

"Technically it was an incident," Jiles said. "I really can't go into any detail personally because I was not directly involved in it." 

Court records from Genesee County suggest otherwise. As a 15-year-old, Jiles was charged with two counts of assault with intent to murder, assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder and two gun charges in 2001.

The charges were dismissed in 2005. 

"Redemption is something we all should embrace,"  said Jiles, who added that he has.

"I'm a graduate student two classes from a masters degree," Jiles said. "I worked in corporate America, I've launched a successful urban initiative to bring in morality to the inner city and that's something to celebrate something we should rejoice in."

Whatever connection that comeback could have with  potential minority voters his ties to a perceived racist could undo it.

Jiles got a big endorsement for his current position from Dave Agema - the controversial Republican  who among other things, shared an article on Facebook from a white supremacist magazine.

The subject? The inferiority of black people.

Jiles calls it a misunderstanding.

"They twisted his words," Jiles said. "It was a very clearly racist article. He didn't believe in the article and what it was actually stating. 

"What he was saying is, that we have to bring awareness to the inner city, there's a cultural battle, a drug problem, you have  all these issues in the inner city."

But for now state Republicans are dealing with their own issues, namely the impact of Jiles' past.

Jiles adds that Agema has done nothing to suggest that he is a racist and that he received several endorsements and not just from Agema. 

The Michigan Republican party is not commenting on the controversy surrounding Jiles. 

Jiles says he has learned from the issues in the past and he is focused on doing something very positive now and eager to work on outreach to the inner city.
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