City Hall

Dallas City Council Member Scott Griggs Passes Polygraph After Coercion Accusations

The investigation into whether Scott Griggs criminally intimidated a member of the Dallas City Secretary's Office is going to a disaster for someone. After Saturday's developments, it seems, it's not going to be Griggs.

After an introduction that included ringing endorsements from City Council member Philip Kingston and former City Council member Angela Hunt along with exhortations from the gathered crowd to "stand with Scott," Griggs' defense team -- Larry Friedman and Anthony Lyons -- dropped a bombshell. Griggs, who was not at the City Hall rally held to bolster his defense, had taken a polygraph exam Saturday morning and passed.

Griggs was given his test by Joe D. Morris, a polygraph examiner based in Carrollton. Before the exam, Griggs described what led up to the contested incident described in the police report published by the Dallas Police Department Friday.

What the incident came down to, basically, was Griggs trying to figure out if the agenda for the mayor's special called Trinity toll road City Council -- which went off on April 16 -- was properly noticed. Under Texas public meetings law, the agenda of any public meeting is required to be posted 72 hours before the meeting. As of 1 p.m. on April 13, Griggs had not seen the posted agenda. He went to the city secretary's office and was told by Bilierae Johnson that the agenda, had, in fact been posted, according to Griggs -- whether they actually had or not isn't clear. It was at this point that, Johnson told police that Griggs told her she "better not push those briefing materials out or [he] would break her fucking fingers."

Griggs was asked three questions during the polygraph: 1. Last April 13, did you ever threaten physical harm to Ms. Johnson for doing her job? 2. Last April 13, did you tell Ms. Johnson, "You better not push those those briefing materials out or I will break your fucking fingers?" 3. On last April 13, did you receive any agenda of a council meeting before 1 p.m.?"

Griggs answered no to all three questions. Morris says he believes each of those answers was truthful.

Friedman and Lyons said that the investigation into Griggs was politically motivated -- Friedman said investigations like this should left to Cook County, Illinois -- and said they hope Susan Hawk will exercise her discretion as Dallas County district attorney and reject the filing against Griggs.

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Stephen Young has written about Dallas news for the Observer since 2014. He's a Dallas native and a graduate of the University of North Texas.
Contact: Stephen Young