Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Public officials behaving badly in public

More Public Officials doing bad things in public.

Austin mayor charged with assault

Travis County prosecutors have charged Austin Mayor Will Wynn with assaulting a man in 2006 at his downtown loft building, and the mayor has been ordered by a judge to perform 20 hours of community service or receive private counseling before May 2.

Wynn paid a $500 bond immediately after the charge was filed late Tuesday in Travis County Justice of the Peace Precinct 5 court and also must pay $68 in court costs, according to a written order by judge Herb Evans.

The order said that the Class C misdemeanor charge will be dismissed if Wynn meets the conditions of the "deferred disposition."

The charge stems from a March 17, 2006, incident in which Wynn "knowingly and intentionally" came into physical contact with Luke Johnson, according to a criminal complaint. Wynn should have believed that Johnson would regard the contact as "offensive," the complaint said.
Wynn and his attorney could not immediately be reached for comment.

Investigators have not publicly described the encounter.

However, Wynn's staffers said at the time that Luke Johnson approached the mayor at a gathering in the building's courtyard and repeatedly asked his name. Wynn then asked Johnson to leave him alone, but when Johnson refused, Wynn took him by the arm.

Wynn released a statement after the incident, saying, "Unfortunately, I let the situation upset me, and after the man refused my requests to leave me alone, I physically escorted him from the property."

Johnson said at the time that Wynn's version of the event "is not the full truth" but declined to elaborate. The graduate student said he was taken to a hospital and has X-rays documenting his injuries.

Police were called to the scene.

Late last year, Wynn's handling of an Oct. 11 incident in which a construction truck blocked traffic on Fifth Street near downtown received attention. Wynn ordered the project's superintendant to not let the driver of the truck leave until police arrived and later said that he used profanity during the incident.

In a call to 311, the construction superintendent described Wynn as "threatening."