A Democrat Michigan state representative who has been in constant conflict with the law since April was arrested this week and found to have a handcuff key taped to his foot.
State Rep. Jewell Jones (D) was arrested on a slew of charges last spring stemming from an allegation of drunk driving. Dashcam video allegedly showed him resisting arrest and defying police orders while in jail.
Jones twice violated bond orders, but remained free.
The Democrat pleaded guilty to violating bond again this week and was finally jailed, only for officers to discover he brought a handcuff key into the Livingston County Jail.
“Allegations in this matter allege the Defendant taping a handcuff key to the bottom of his foot with clear tape and was found by Livingston County Corrections Officers upon his incarceration,” Livingston County Chief Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Carolyn Henry wrote in a bond recommendation form, Livingston Daily reported.
The state representative “was charged with one count each of bringing a weapon into a jail and escape waiting a felony trial,” the paper said.
One charge carries a four-year sentence, the other is five years.
“This guy is a real piece of work, and an embarrassment to all elected officials, and I believe he thinks somehow the laws do not apply to him,” Livingston County Sheriff Mike Murphy said in a press release, according to WXYZ. “More than that, I am mad. Had the handcuff key ended in an injury to my staff or another inmate, I am not sure what I would have done; as my primary responsibility is the safety and security of my staff and inmates.”
The network reported Jones was accused in June of leaving military training without notifying the court, then failing to pay a court invoice in July, before “pleaded guilty to drinking on September 3 and tampering with his alcohol-sensing tether on Labor Day.”
Jones’s legal troubles started April 6 on I-96 near Fowlerville. Police found Jones’s vehicle off the road and his passenger’s pants around her ankles. Video showed Jones fighting with police after allegedly fighting with medical personnel attempting to assist at the scene. During the incident, he threatened to call Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) and allegedly attempted to use his influence over the Michigan State Police budget to intimidate troopers.
After the arrest, State House Speaker Jason Wentworth (R-Highland) on Thursday stripped Jones of all committee assignments.
“Rep. Jewell Jones’s increasingly disruptive and distracting behavior in the months following his April arrest has eroded my confidence in his ability to conduct the people’s work. That behavior hit a new low yesterday when he appears to have made a bizarre attempt to escape from jail, potentially resulting in two new charges. Action must be taken to protect the public’s interest. I am now removing Rep. Jones from all House committees and encouraging him to use that time to make changes and take control of his actions,” Wentworth said.
Critics of Jones argue that the latest arrest disqualifies him from holding office.
“Jewell Jones isn’t fit for office,” said Tori Sachs, executive director of the Michigan Freedom Fund. “Democrats and Republicans have been pulling for him while he fights his demons, but he’s now spending more time in jail than in House chambers. Enough is enough. His constituents deserve better, and he needs an opportunity to focus on getting well. We hope House Democrats will do the right thing and speak out publicly, too.”
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