Arrested Councilman: Jail Food Tasted Good

Duncanville city leader released from jail late after mixup, he says

Paul Ford, the Duncanville city council member charged with disrupting a council meeting, was released from jail after 12 hours and a late-night serving of two bologna sandwiches.

"They tasted great, actually," he said Thursday when reached at his home. "It was the first food I had."

Ford, a two-year Duncanville council member who is running for re-election next month, was arrested last week after the mayor told him he was not allowed to speak at a council meeting.

As two officers escorted him out, he fell on the ground and injured a bad back. He was hospitalized until Saturday.

In his two years in office, he has frequently clashed with three-term Mayor David Green and other council members, who in turn claim he does not obey meeting rules and makes frequent outbursts at improper times.

Ford said the city's power players are trying to silence him.

In open council meetings, he has accused them of having conflicts of interest in various city deals, including a condo project on Main Street.  The others deny any conflict.

He is also an outspoken critic of the city's red-light cameras.

Ford is charged with disrupting a public meeting, a class B misdemeanor punishable by six months in jail. The charge, especially involving a sitting public official, is extremely uncommon and may be a first in Texas.

"Even the magistrate said, 'Oh, that's a new one. I've never seen that before,'" Ford said.

After he turned himself in to the Duncanville city jail at 4:30 p.m. Monday, he said officers transferred him to the Dallas County jail downtown about 45 minutes later.  He wasn't released until 5 a.m. Tuesday morning, he said.

A mixup prevented him from being let go earlier, he said.

"The whole thing was bizarre," he said.

At Lew Sterret, he was first taken to a large holding area around accused prostitutes and drug dealers.

"It was like an uncomfortable airline terminal," Ford said. "I was fingerprinted and photographed."

He had brought $500 cash with him to quickly bond out, but was moved to another cell upstairs by mistake with other inmates who could not afford bond, he said.

A few hours later, he said, jailers realized their mistake and released him.

His case goes to court May 12. He plans to represent himself, he said.

"I don't consider myself a rebel," he said. "I consider myself a person trying to do what's right."

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