Grand Jury Clears Houston Councilmember

Houston Councilmember Jarvis Johnson is cleared of charges that he evaded arrest. A Harris County grand jury decided not to indict him. Laurie Johnson spoke with the Councilman about the grand jury’s no-bill verdict.

From the beginning, Houston Councilmember Jarvis Johnson has maintained his innocence. He was pulled over for speeding on June 30th, in the Fifth Ward. A Houston police officer clocked him going 62 in a 45 mile per hour zone. But that’s not why he was arrested.

The officer charged him with evading arrest for not pulling over immediately.

Johnson says he was doing what we’re told to do in those situations — looking for a well-lit safe place to stop.

“You’re talking about an area that is riddled with crime. The fact that there are a lot of drug arrests in that area, there are a lot of prostitution, a lot of gangs. I think this may have been one of those situations where the police officer over-reacted.”

Johnson says while he’s relieved the grand jury no-billed the case, it should never have reached the point it did. But he’s quick to add he hasn’t lost faith in the Houston Police Department.

“I support the Houston Police Department. I’ve been able to be very supportive of them and exemplified that on some of my votes on council since the time of the arrest, and affirming the police department and what they do.”

Johnson says his case illustrates some of the tension between the Fifth Ward community and local law enforcement.


Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson


Laurie is a native Houstonian who started her career at Houston Public Media in 2002. Laurie has covered a wide variety of topics for HPM, including the crash of the Space Shuttle Columbia, Hurricanes Katrina and Ike, and numerous elections. She is a frequent contributor to NPR and has been...

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