Councilmember Jarvis Johnson no-billed

Councilmember Jarvis Johnson won't be charged following a June arrest for allegedly evading arrest

October 11, 2010 3:17:08 PM PDT
Houston City Councilman Jarvis Johnson always said he was innocent when he was arrested for allegedly running from an officer a few months ago. On Monday, a Harris County grand jury apparently agreed with him. Johnson's own attorney said the DA didn't have enough evidence to prove its case -- that Johnson was fleeing from police. The decision to no-bill was made after Assistant District Attorney Eillen Bogar presented the case Monday morning.

"The case was no-billed by the 228th grand jury later this morning," Bogar said. "In most cases, that is the end of it. I obviously am not the elected DA, but in most cases, that is what happens is the case is over after that."

Grand jury proceedings are secret, so Bogar is prohibited from saying if grand jurors asked questions about the case or what was said. Johnson did not go before the grand jury Monday morning. He was not required to attend.

"We're certainly very appreciative of the fact that we have been no-billed. I have maintained my innocence the entire time," Johnson said. "I have been very supportive of the Houston Police Department. I think it was a very bad understanding on a bad night."

A police officer says Johnson failed to stop when he tried to pull him over for speeding in late June. Johnson was arrested and charged with evading arrest. Johnson said he did not flee from police and the officer overreacted.

"The fact that he clocked me doing 62, then the fact that I drove four blocks is what was important," he said.

Questions also had been raised as to whether Johnson was targeted over his outspoken opinions about speed traps in the Fifth Ward.

The evading arrest charge resulted from Johnson's failure to stop immediately.

"On a very rainy night I pulled over as soon as I recognized the police officer behind me," Johnson said. "I explained to the police officer that my reasoning for pulling over at the youth center was that was a familiar, well-lit and a safe place for me to pull over, and that's certainly what I did."

One of Johnson's aides was in the car at the time of the arrest. She was not arrested.

Of the incident, Johnson commented, "It helps me have a better understanding of what (members of my community) have to endure every day."

The councilman maintains that the incident has not influenced his decisions regarding the Houston Police Department.

Johnson's attorney said it was less than a minute before Johnson finally pulled over, so there wasn't enough time to constitute a police chase, and that was a statement with which the grand jury agreed.


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