An accusation that Dallas City Councilman Scott Griggs yelled profanities at and threatened a city employee escalated into possible felony criminal charges in April. If it’s true that Griggs yelled the mother of all curse words and threatened to break a city employee’s fingers, well that’s not nice. Griggs has apologized and hugged it out with the civil servant caught at the center of the accusation.
But a felony charge that could’ve resulted in prison time and revocation of Griggs’ law license? Evidence uncovered last week shows that the push for that came from a single source inside City Hall.
Here are the main points of the fiasco:
There is no longer any case against Griggs. He was never arrested, and a Dallas County grand jury last month declined to indict Griggs with coercion of a public official. Conviction in such a case can result in prison time.
Documents uncovered by the Dallas Morning News indicate that City Attorney Warren Ernst aggressively pushed for felony charges against Griggs. Ernst, according to emails the DMN found, also stirred up complaints that Griggs verbally abused two other city employees: public relations director Sana Syed and Lindsay Kramer, an assistant to the city manager.
The employee whom Griggs originally was accused of verbally accosting, Billierae Johnson of the City Secretary’s office, said three times — twice to Ernst and once to the Dallas Police Department — that she did not want to press charges against Griggs.
In a timeline Ernst apparently prepared for police, Ernst wrote: “Thursday, April 16: I met with the mayor at 10:30 am for our weekly meeting. He raised the issue of wrongful behavior by the council member towards Lindsay and Sana.”
Mayor Mike Rawlings told the Dallas Observer that he doesn’t remember it that way and that he “wants the whole thing to go away.” He says he did not “get that ball rolling” with accusations against Griggs.
Jim Schutze of the Observer goes pretty soft on Griggs. But that’s probably because the Oak Cliff city councilman consistently pushes for truth and transparency at Dallas City Hall, and he calls out shady behavior when he sees it. Journalists love that stuff. Here is Griggs ally City Councilman Phillip Kingston in Schutze’s story today:
These are the same folks who Griggs caught with the secret agreement with Trinity East [drilling company]. These are the same folks who were siccing the vice cops on Uber.
They have a pattern of lying to council members, and Griggs has a pattern of digging until he finds the truth. I don’t know why that isn’t the narrative. Why are we talking about bullying and yelling? Why aren’t we talking about lying and deception?