Earlier today, Historic City News learned that St. Augustine City Commissioner Errol Donledy Jones has been released from custody at the St. Johns County Detention Facility after being arrested for resisting a police officer.
The 68 year-old Jones, who resides at 60 Palmer Street in St. Augustine, was booked into the county jail just before 10:00 p.m. Saturday night — charged with the first-degree misdemeanor crime, which he denies.
After being allowed to post a $500 appearance bond, Jones returned home today. “I was wronged and I don’t appreciate the embarrassment of it all,” Jones reportedly said.
Police say that officers were investigating a disturbance at a home near the intersection of Julia Street and Nesmith Avenue following a reported assault; when St. Augustine Police Officer Michael Linsky reported that he was “rushed” by a man who came running from the garage.
In the incident report, Linsky says that a flood light over the garage blinded him from recognizing the man — who police now know was Commissioner Jones.
Jones said that he was not in the garage and that he did not “rush” the officer, according to local news accounts.
The residence of the incident, located at 60 Julia Street, is one block over from the home where Jones as his wife resides.
Linsky reports that he told Jones to stop where he was, put up his hands and to back up.
In a struggle that may have lasted about a minute, Jones reportedly grabbed ahold of Linsky’s wrist. Linsky retrieved his handcuffs and attempted to secure Jones, however, Linsky says Jones pulled away from him and was “flailing his arms”.
Jones denied this, saying that the officer grabbed him without provocation.
Police believe Jones was intoxicated. “Do you know who I am?” police say Jones hollered. Jones was irate. “You won’t have a job next week,” Jones told Linsky.
Once Jones was in hand cuffs, Linsky wrote he continued telling him to “call the chief” and that he was going to be fired.
Jones denies being intoxicated and, according to one news account, said, “I plan to file an official complaint with the city police department”.
Unless ordered by the Governor, Jones, who is an elected official, does not automatically have to resign his seat on the commission because of the arrest. If Jones were convicted, because the crime alleged is a misdemeanor, it still would not trigger an automatic suspension. If the Governor decides that resisting a police officer is a serious crime of moral turpitude, he has the power to issue an executive order removing Jones from the remainder of his term. Jones, or his successor, will have to stand for election in November of next year.
Police representative Mark Samson has been contacted for a statement from the Police Department administration. Jones was provided a copy of the reported information and given an opportunity to offer his own comments.