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‘Piece of work’ Mich. state rep. caught with handcuff key behind bars, law enforcement says

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Rep. Jewell Jones, a state lawmaker in Michigan, is facing new felony charges after the Democrat was allegedly found to be in possession of a handcuff key following an arrest Tuesday after his bond was revoked stemming from another prior arrest.

Jones appeared in court Wednesday on allegations of attempted escape while still facing felony charges for allegedly bringing a weapon into a jail, The Detroit News reported.

“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,” said Livingston County Sheriff Michael Murphy in an interview with FOX 2 of Detroit.

“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.”

“This defendant’s actions from his conduct during the charged crimes, through each other three bond violations show that he believes that as a person who writes our laws, that he is above our laws. There is also a very strong public perception that the defendant is getting special treatment because of his position,” assistant prosecutor Christina Jones told a court on Tuesday.

The 26-year-old lawmaker was initially arrested for a third bond violation related to an April drunk driving accident. At the time of the crash, Jones’ blood alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit, according to police.

Jones, who was elected to the state legislature in 2016, was made to wear an alcohol tether on his ankle after the drunk driving arrest earlier this year. On Sept. 3, the device detected alcohol in his blood three times, which was a violation of the conditions for his being released on bond. Also, he is suspected of tampering with the device on Sept. 6, police say.

Jones pleaded not guilty in court on Wednesday, with a judge setting his bond at $100.000 cash or surety, The Detroit News reported.

“Clearly this defendant has shown through his actions, through his decisions, through his choices, he has a total disregard to follow court orders, to conform his behaviors to the law, and he has a total disregard for public safety,” Chief Assistant Prosecutor Carolyn Henry said during the hearing, The Detroit News reported.

“He’s a risk to our community,” she added. “He has shown this court that he is not going to follow terms and conditions of bond that are set by this court. He has shown through his actions that he will lie to the court, and he will continue to do whatever he wants to do.”

Police say that they allegedly found the handcuff key taped to the bottom of one of Jones’ feet while he was being processed into the Livingstone County Jail Tuesday.

In addition, Jones was ordered by the court to give up all equipment he uses as a reserve police officer in his district.

The key frustrated his attorney, who remarked that it would not have helped him anyway once he was inside a jail cell.

Murphy also had no answers for why Jones had the key.

“You could run through unlimited possibilities. At the end of the day, folks are handcuffed to and from a facility. If someone has a handcuff key, that’s a bad day for us,” he said, according to the News.

“I believe he thinks the laws do not apply to him,” the sheriff added. “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.”

Jon Dougherty

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