Councilmember Jones Cleared Of All Wrongdoing

The misconduct case against Houston City Councilwoman Jolanda Jones appears to finally be over. A city review panel has decided against taking any further action against Jones. Just last week the District Attorney’s office said it found no evidence of any criminal wrongdoing.

Jones read a statement saying what she’s said since allegations of misconduct first surfaced earlier this year.

“I’ve never used my role as a councilmember to benefit anything or anyone other than the people I was elected to serve. The accusations against me have been baseless and defamatory from the start. I do not practice civil law and have never, let me repea, never represented anyone in a police brutality case.”

The uproar began in the early part of the year when Jones attended a community meeting where the topic was the alleged beating of a teen suspect by police. That incident was caught on videotape.

At the meeting, Jones passed out a card, she says what an informational card, informing residents of their rights.  However some said it was a business card and Jones, who is an attorney, was accused of trying to solicit business while representing herself as a councilmember.

Jones said she did nothing wrong.

“No, I don’t believe it was a mistake. It clearly says to report police misconduct.  Some people don’t know how to do it. Some people are afraid.”

Jones was also accused of obstructing the investigation once it was underway. But she says was not aware she was being investigating at the time.

“How could I obstruct an investigation of my staff that I didn’t even know was taking place. I mean I just didn’t know. When somebody says you did something wrong. You have a right to know what you did wrong. I did not receive a formal complaint until three days after the conclusion of the findings. I learned I was being investigated for stuff I had no clue I was being investigated for.”

Councilmember Jones and her attorney aren’t happy with the city’s investigative process. The Office of Inspector General investigates employee misconduct and is a division of the city attorney’s office. But the city attorney is also the person who advices employees, like Jones on what to do.

This is Kelly Cripe Jones personal attorney.

“That’s where the conflict lies. The city attorney shouldn’t be able to tell someone investigate this person, do this against this person and be also working under the mayor. The city attorney is working under the mayor, so it makes it looks like there’s too much collusion.”

The city review panel, made up of the mayor and two other councilmembers, said Jones needs to remove her council office phone from the Know Your Rights cards she passes out. Her staff must also take ethics training and there must be a clear record of when staff members are on personal and city time.

Jones, who hopes to be elected to at third term this November, agreed to all of this while maintaining she has done nothing wrong.