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KFDM gets new details about investigation into Neil-Haynes altercation
BEAUMONT - by Scott Lawrence
KFDM News has learned the Beaumont ISD Police Department is preparing within the next week to present to either Municipal Court or the District Attorney's Office cases for review from complainants alleging assault and obstruction stemming from an incident after the August 1 school board meeting.
Video taken by a surveillance camera in the hall of the administration building shows the Special Assistant to the Superintendent for Communications, Jessie Haynes, appearing to block the door and preventing Jerry Jordan, who owns SET Investigates, from going back inside the room where BISD attorney Melody Chappell was answering questions from reporters. An attorney for trustee Mike Neil says Neil decided to go back inside the boardroom to find out why Jordan was being kept out. Neil walks toward the door and there is contact between Neil and Haynes. Haynes and Neil each characterize what happened as an assault by the other person.
BISD Superintendent Dr. Timothy Chargois placed Haynes on paid administrative leave, effective Monday, pending the outcome of an investigation into the incident.
Chief Clydell Duncan of the Beaumont ISD Police Department spoke with KFDM News by telephone Thursday afternoon. He spoke in general terms about the complaints presented to his department but wouldn't identify any of the parties by name.
"As a result of the incident last Thursday night, there have been some complaints filed with the BISD Police Department," Chief Duncan told KFDM News. "We're investigating them. We've had two or three complaints originating from the incident last week. We'll collect the information, evidence, and once we complete our investigation, then we make a determination about how to proceed. In most cases, we refer the case to Municipal Court or the D.A.'s Office, depending on the nature of the charge, and they decide whether or not to move forward."
Chief Duncan says if it's determined what happened merits charges, they should be misdemeanors and not felonies.
"Based on the initial complaint, both complaints deal primarily with matters that, if substantiated, would be misdemeanor violations. There are no matters, if substantiated, that would be felony violations. Again, we must do the investigation. The final decision will be made by Municipal Court or the D.A. If it's a Class C case, we refer it to Municipal Court. If it's a Class B case, we refer it to the D.A. Nothing I've seen, if substantiated, would amount to a Class A Misdemeanor."
Chief Duncan says the BISD Police Department should wrap up its investigation very soon.
"The cases could be anything from assault to obstruction, depending on the complainant. We hope to submit our information within the next week."
According to Duncan, his department will do what it can to minimize the chances something like this could happen again.
"We deal with incidents like this as best we can. We'll try to make sure we're alert to situations and prevent things like that from taking place again, but I believe it's an anomaly."