Michigan Rep. Jewell Jones' attorney says troopers used excessive force in drunk driving arrest
SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (FOX 2) - The attorney for Michigan State Representative Jewell Jones says the Michigan State Police troopers went too far and used excessive force during his April 6th arrest for drunk driving and other charges.
Attorney Ali Hammoud represents Jones, who has been charged with drunk driving with a gun in his car and resisting and obstructing police along I-96 in Livingston County. During Jones' court appearance on Tuesday, Hammoud argues that police crossed the line during the arrest.
"Clearly he's overcharged. Clearly, police abused their discretion here and they used excessive force on Mr. Jones," Hammoud said.
According to Michigan State Police, Jones had a blood-alcohol level more than twice the legal limit as he drove for at least 50 miles from Southfield to Fowlerville with his Glock in the cupholder before crashing. Jones is accused of becoming combative with police and a paramedic who tried to help after the crash.
State police had said Jones crashed into a ditch that day but video from the dashcam arriving on the scene shows his Chevy Tahoe on the side of the highway with an ambulance behind it and his female passenger inside. Jones, an auxiliary police officer in Inkster, is talking to a paramedic and showing his badge.
The paramedic nudges jones away as police walk up and ask for his license. Jones said he wouldn't give to them and troopers took him down. Those actions are what Hammoud said are excessive and unnecessary.
"They can't just say give me your ID or we're going to arrest you and when Mr. Jones declined to do so - which is everyone's right - this is when they wrestle him to the ground and they tased him. They maced him," Hammoud said.
Michigan State Representative Jewell Jones after his arrest in Livingston County. His attorney argues police used excessive force when they took him down and pepper-sprayed him.
The Michigan Information & Research Service (MIRS) obtained the full police report and shared it with FOX 2 (Note to readers, in order to access the MIRS story, a subscription is required). According to the report, when police arrived at the scene Jones had his pants partially down and was holding up a female passenger on the passenger side of the vehicle. Her pants were down, the report said.
"The defendant's behaviors were reported to be so serious that they had escalated to a point that the troopers had to tase and pepper spray the defendant," the county prosecutor said.
MORE: Rep. Jewell Jones, female passenger found with pants down before arrest
Hammoud says it wasn't his client who went too far, it was the troopers. He said he wonders if a white representative would have received the same treatment.
"I do believe him being a Black person in Livingston had something to do with the stop. If this was a white representative, if this was a white person I don't know if the situation would have been handled differently," he said. "Something happened to Mr. Jones that day because of the color of his skin.
Jones is free on personal bond and has been suspended from his volunteer position with the Inkster Police Department.
During his arrest, he was heard on dashcam video saying he would "call Gretchen" on the troopers. When asked Tuesday about his arrest, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer declined to discuss it.
"I don't have much to say other than the investigation is proceeding," Whitmer said.
House Democratic leader Donna Lasinski released a statement to FOX: "These are serious charges. It’s important to let the investigation proceed and the legal process play out, so all the facts can come to light."
Jones is due back in court on June 30th.
Jones represents the 11th District, which includes Garden City and Inkster, as well as portions of Dearborn Heights, Livonia, and Westland. He is also an auxiliary police officer in Inkster, which is a volunteer role, and a member of the Michigan National Guard.