During the second day of Beaumont ISD communication specialist Jessie Haynes' trial for blocking a public entrance, refusing to let a reporter and a school board trustee into a press conference, a BISD police officer testified Haynes was unhappy with his original police report and that BISD Police Chief Clydell Duncan pressured the officer to make multiple changes to his official account of the incident.
Tuesday, May 20, the day began with the resumed testimony of Beaumont Independent School District Trustee Mike Neil and the viewing of video shot by a camera that caught the whole incident on tape Aug. 1, 2013.
By the end of the day, however, BISD PD Corporal Juan San Miguel testified Haynes was not happy about the original police report into the incident and said she filed a complaint against him citing what she said was the inaccuracy of his original report.
As a result of the complaint by Haynes, San Miguel said he was called into the office of Chief Duncan, who more than three times pressured San Miguel to alter his original police report, according to court testimony.
After altering his report at least three times, San Miguel said Chief Duncan was still pressuring him to change his report.
"He wasn’t happy with that either," San Miguel said of Duncan.
Stay tuned to TheExaminer.com for day three of the trial.
Previous reporting: May 19, 2014
After rejecting a plea deal for one year deferred probation and $1,000 fine, a trial was underway Monday morning, May 19 for BISD’s Communication Director Jessie Haynes.
Prosecutors sought to prove Haynes blocked a local reporter and BISD Trustee Mike Neil from entering a room where a press conference with other Beaumont media outlets was being held with BISD’s attorney Melody Chappell. The Class B misdemeanor charge of obstructing a public passageway carries potential penalties of up to 180 days in jail, a fine up to $2,000 or both.
After a jury of six men was selected, Haynes' defense argued his client was doing her job that day and was assaulted by Mike Neil.
“This is not a normal criminal case,” Haynes’ defense said in opening statements. “This is, and I think the evidence will show, political blood sport.”
But BISD Trustee Mike Neil would tell jurors otherwise.
As he took the stand first, Neil told the jury tensions within BISD’s administration were high that August day as a weeks-long battle over new voting maps culminated in a restraining order against BISD.
“It was boiling and boiling more and more,” Neil said. “In fact, I think we had been brining more police officers.”
When Neil realized the reporter was barred, he said he demanded an explanation from Haynes as she physically blocked the doors, disagreeing that a verbal tiff between Chappell and the reporter was a good enough reason to block a member of the press from entering the room where the conference was being held.
Neil said one of the only public water fountains in the building was through the doors blocked by Haynes.
“The doors were shut and Mrs. Haynes was standing directly in front of the door handle,” Neil said.
After accosting Haynes but failing to convince her to relent, Neil testified he carefully attempted to reach the door handle and was eventually able to open the door despite Haynes physically blocking him.
Moments before prosecutors would show jurors the full tape of the altercation, Judge Langston Adams ended the County Court at Law #3’s proceedings for the day at about 4:45 p.m. as the jury worked through lunch during jury selection.
Be sure to check TheExaminer.com for updates as they become available.