Flint Councilman “doesn’t know what he is doing”
On Friday, May 30th, the drunk driving trial of Flint councilman Eric Mays resumed. This trial, which has netted much media coverage as a result of the councilman’s decision to represent himself in court and his inexperience with court proceedings, has led to much frustration for all parties involved.
Mays has been repeatedly reprimanded by the Judge throughout the trial. At one point he took out his dentures to prove a point, and he has accused police officers of lying in their testimonies. Apparently the prosecution has made a few offers to settle the case, but Mays has not liked any of the proposed deals. Also, he claims to be considering asking for a mistrial, on the grounds that the presiding judge, Nathaniel C. Perry, has made certain rulings that Mays disagrees with.
During the most recent installment of the trial, Flint police Sgt. Michael Dumanois gave his testimony. Dumanois said that he was the first Flint police officer on the scene, dispatched to the scene by a 911 operator who had reported that the damaged car may be connected to an accident that had happened just 3 miles away within the Flint city limits. He said to Mays during the testimony, “Your words to me were that you were drinking Grey Goose and you were going to accept responsibility.”
Another Flint police officer, Steven Wheeler, also gave his testimony, stating that he had been the officer who carried out the Breathalyzer test done on Mays at the scene. According to Wheeler, May’s blood alcohol readings were 0.11 and 0.10 that night. In Michigan, the legal limit for a driver is a BAC of 0.8.
The police and prosecutor in this case are alleging that Mays crashed a rented car that he was driving on the night of November 30th last year, near a former Union Hall in Flint. After the accident, it is believed that he drove the car, with four missing or flat tires, the wrong way on I-475. Officers found him talking on the phone outside the vehicle, where it was parked on the side of the highway. He was attempting to change one of the flat tires.
When it was Mays’ turn to call witnesses, one of the people he called was Johnny Billings of Flint. However, Billings was only asked one question, which was whether or not he was driving Mays vehicle on the night the councilman was arrested for drunken driving. Billings claimed his Fifth Amendment right, protecting him against self-incrimination, and refused to answer the question.
No witnesses have claimed to have seen Mays actually driving the car, however, the police officers who arrested him that night say that he admitted to driving drunk that night. Mays says that he intends to call further witnesses who were “run away from the scene” by the police.
Mays defense strategy has it’s foundation on the fact that all of the charges were created as part of a scheme by his political enemies to get him to resign from office. He has had difficulty proving that fact thus far, however, as the judge has refused to allow him to call as witnesses political figures who do not directly relate to the case or the events on that night.
Mays and the Judge have been in disagreement from the start about a multitude of issues, not least of which is Mays’ conduct in court. On several occasions during cross-examination of the witnesses, the Judge told Mays to “Just have a seat and be quiet.” Later on, the judge slammed his fist on the bench, saying, “Please be quiet!”
Special prosecutor Michael Gildner objected repeatedly to May’s comments and questions to the witnesses in the trial, saying at one point that Mays “does not know process and doesn’t know what he’s doing in court.”
During his opening statement, Mays told the jury that he is doing his best to represent himself during this trial. “I don’t know all the rules of the attorneys or the courts, I know the truth!”
The trial is scheduled to continue on June 12th.