Friday, July 02, 2010

TOP STORY>>Candidate abandons campaign for mayor

Leader staff writer

Rizelle Aaron, a candidate for the Jacksonville mayoral race, is dropping out, leaving Mayor Gary Fletcher unopposed.

A statement on his Aaron 4 Mayor Facebook page shortly before the page was taken down said, “I am Rizelle Aaron. June 24th I had a prostate exam and labs. On June 25th I was diagnosed. After careful deliberation it is with deep regret that I will withdraw from the mayors race due to health concerns. Thank you for your over whelming support. I know we would have won.”

In a separate e-mail sent to The Leader on Thursday, he stated, “Due to medical reasons diagnosed last week, I was advised by my doctor that the stress of this campaign will delay and hinder the recovery process.”

The Pulaski County Clerk’s Office has not received official noticed yet that Aaron has pulled out of the race. Until the office receives a notarized letter from Aaron that he wishes to withdraw, he will continue to be listed as a candidate.

In Thursday’s e-mail to The Leader, he said the article that reported on his police record was “full of lies and has caused me and my family great harm.”

He said there were many “intentional errors” in the article. “In my opinion, this is a clear case of defamation and slander.”

The article reported information obtained from 10 police reports and witness statements dated from April 2005.

Even though race was never mentioned in the article, Aaron, in his e-mail, stated, “As an African American, I can never be surprised at what someone like (reporter) Rick Kron will do, but I must say I am surprised at you (publisher Garrick Feldman) and The Leader for publishing something like this. I understand Kron’s motives, because this has always been a way for people like him to stop the progression of people like me. To make an example of me to keep the rest in check.”

He said that he was exploring his legal options, and on advice of counsel would not be giving any further statements.

But within 24 hours, he sent an e-mail and an audio recording to The Leader to prove his innocence.

In an incident in 2005 on Little Rock Air Force Base, where the police report listed the offenses as third-degree battery and rape, Aaron states, in his e-mail, “When I went in to sit and talk with my ex-wife, I recorded the entire incident. Initially, the conversation was calm. I asked my ex-wife for a divorce and she agreed. I then asked her if we could let the children decide who they wanted to live with in the event of the divorce. I called the children into the room individually and asked them. Both of the children stated they wanted to live with me. When the children left out of the room the situation became hostile and I called the police. The reasons no charges were filed was because of the audio recording. I was injured in the incident and still have the scar.”

However, in written statements by Aaron and his ex-wife at the time of the incident, there is no mention of talking with the children or the divorce.

Aaron wrote in the statement to police that when he got home, “she started to get intimate with me, which is what she does when she wants money.”

After thinking about it, he told her “to get off of me.” Aaron wrote that she got mad and “started to push me and scratch and then she bit me.”

His ex-wife’s statement has a completely different and more graphic view of what happened. In her statement, she said that his words to her were “he had everything planned because he knew that the MP’s were fake police as he called them and said they could only detain me until the Jacksonville police got there and that they weren’t going to do anything to him because they were his friends.”

The military reports from that night have been destroyed. “They only keep records for three years,” said Arlo Taylor, a base spokesman. He also said the security-police office that responded is no longer assigned to the base.

His ex-wife also wrote that he was recording the conversation and said, “He could edit out anything that he wanted.”

In 2007, Aaron was arrested on battery charges and was sentenced to one-year probation.

In an e-mail to The Leader on Friday, he said “In the 2007 incident there are audio recorded interviews with the police and witnesses. Detective (Melissa) Burroughs did in fact lie in her police report that can be confirmed by comparing my interview with Burroughs and her police report. Unfortunately, no one will ever know what was really said in the other interviews, because they are juveniles.”

In the 2008 incident, he was charged with battery and assault and took a plea deal.

In his e-mail, Aaron said the Department of Human Services did an investigation and found that no abuse had occurred.

“In fact, when they interviewed my son when asked by DHS if I punched him, he replied it wasn’t really a punch. He stated I grabbed him by his shirt collar and arm. Punched was the word my son was given to use when interviewed by the police.

According to them, the interviews of my children were not recorded, even though they were interviewed at the police department. There were no marks or bruises. I have a copy of the entire report for your review.”

Aaron went on to write, “I plead guilty, because I had received information that I was going to be found guilty whether I was or not. I wasn’t sentenced to 150 days. I did anger management, paid a fine and a few days of community service.”

According to court records, which were double checked Friday, Aaron was “fined $450 and sentenced to 120 days in jail with 90 days suspended because of proof of anger-management classes” on the battery charge.

Records further show that he was “fined $225 and sentenced to 30 days with 20 days suspended because of proof of anger-management classes” on the assault charge.

In a phone interview, Aaron said he knew he would be found guilty because the police had told the judge about the Dupree Park incident in which Aaron has filed suit against the city and officers. Aaron said in that telephone interview, which he recorded, that he ran into District Judge Robert Batton at Walmart later and asked him why he put him in jail, knowing that he was innocent. Aaron said Batton told him it was because he knew about the Dupree Park incident.

Megan Jones, one of four people Aaron detained for drugs at Dupree Park in 2005, filed two complaints with the police against Aaron—one in 2008 and one in 2009, and also a report with the prosecuting attorney’s office.

“In reference to Megan Jones. I received a recorded copy of her call to the police and a copy of Burroughs’ incident report. I also have another recording that Jones referred to in the call. As I stated in an earlier e-mail, Jones was not worried about me.

She is worried about the police and what they might do to her or her father, who was and may still be on parole.”

Yet Jones still filed complaints with the police stating that Aaron had misled her grandfather and her once by saying he had a job for her, and a second time got her phone number from her grandfather declaring that it was an emergency.

He offered up no explanation as to the mix up with his college degree. He states he has one, yet the college does not list him.