Council member under investigation

February 23, 2011 3:58:33 PM PST
A Houston city council member is under investigation for alleged ethics violations over a flyer making the rounds. The flyer encourages victims of police brutality to call her for help. There's apparently an Office of Inspector General investigation that's been opened up over a flyer that's been handed out by Houston city council member Jolanda Jones at a recent town hall meeting over the Chad Holley video. The controversy stems from the meaning behind this flyer.

On the flyer, Jones, who's also an attorney, talks about the rights a citizen has when approached by the police. On the flyer, for example, she says never to speak with the police. You have a Fifth Amendment right to remain silent. Use it and contact your lawyer if you have any questions, the flyer advises.

Jones says she's been giving seminars about rights that individuals have when in contact with police officers since 2002, or even as long ago as the late 1990s. She says this is nothing unusual and she's simply informing people of their rights.

Jones calls this a distraction. Houston Mayor Annise Parker says, though, she sees this in a different light.

"I would absolutely be concerned about anyone who would do anything to discourage citizens from speaking to police officers, that would be certain members of council who have put out written statements saying that citizens should never talk to police officers under any circumstances," Mayor Parker said.

Jones said, "They just need a distraction. For whatever reason, I tend to be that distraction. But please know I will not be distracted from giving people information that they've asked me to give."

Jones says she's been giving these seminars for a long time and a lot of people continue to ask her about what their rights are when they are confronted by police. She says this is not going to stop.

We do know the OIG's office is investigating, and the mayor's office is offering no further comment, but letting the investigation run its course.