Mayor & police chief scheduled to appear in court on corruption - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Mayor & police chief set to appear on corruption charges

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Mayor Charles Martin and Police Chief James Jones (Source: Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office) Mayor Charles Martin and Police Chief James Jones (Source: Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office)

The mayor and police chief of a Louisiana town are expected to appear in court Tuesday on allegations they used their positions of power for personal gain.

Mayor Charles Martin and Police Chief James Jones of the town of Springfield are accused of hiding a woman's DWI and reducing the charges to reckless operation.

They are charged with malfeasance in office, obstruction of justice and conspiracy to commit both.

"There's two issues: public corruption and public safety," said Stephen Street, inspector general.

According to the arrest warrants, a Springfield police officer pulled over a car on April 10, 2011 for driving on the wrong side of LA 22.

The officer brought the driver, Tyra Jones, back to the town hall. When he gave her a breathalyzer, she reportedly blew twice the legal limit and was issued a DWI.

The warrant states while that was happening, a mutual friend of Jones and the mayor put in a call and the mayor showed up at the town hall, asking the officer for a favor. The officer refused and took the woman to jail.

However, the warrant added that the next day the officer was called in for a meeting with the mayor and chief of police, where Martin persisted with the request and asked Jones if there was anything that could be done to conceal the DWI arrest. Jones also told the mayor the report could be "thrown away."

The report goes on to state Jones instructed the mayor to tell the woman to keep quiet about what happened. The warrant said a week later, the mayor was again asking the officer if he would have a problem if the mayor "took care of his friend" and "reduce the DWI to a reckless operation citation."

"Instead, substituted a mayor's court ticket for reckless operation," Street explained.

He added the investigation even found audio tapes of the chief explaining what he would say if they were caught.

Also in the arrest warrant - when investigators questioned Martin, he admitted he knowingly committed illegal acts related to Jones' arrest.

Copyright 2012 WAFB. All rights reserved.

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