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Dallas Grand Jury Doesn't Indict Council Member Griggs in Coercion Case

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A Dallas County grand jury has decided not to indict Scott Griggs based on allegations that he threatened to "break the fucking fingers" of a member of the city secretary's office because of documents Griggs felt were being improperly handled.

In the run-up to April 16's all Trinity toll road City Council meeting, Griggs believed that the secretary's office failed to post the agenda within 72 hours of the meeting's start, as required by law. After not seeing the agenda posted at 1 p.m. on April 13, Griggs went to the office to find out what was going on. Billirae Johnson, a longtime employee of the office, told Griggs that the agenda had been posted, according to Griggs. That's when a witness reported to police that Griggs told Johnson he would "break her fucking fingers" if she backdated the briefing materials before posting them late.

Griggs denied that he'd used those words during his visit to the office — and passed a polygraph to that effect — but did subsequently apologize to Johnson, according to the Morning News, for using harsh language.

Since the accusation against Griggs was made in early May, his supporters and lawyers have insisted the claims were politically motivated. One of his attorneys suggested the case against Griggs was befitting of a city like Chicago, not Dallas.

Larry Friedman and Anthony Lyons, Griggs' defense team, said they hoped Dallas County District Attorney Susan Hawk's office would reject the filing. Once a grand jury got the case, one Griggs supporter said at the time, anything could happen. Tuesday, something, but not anything, happened, as the grand jury sided with Griggs, who did not return a request for comment.

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said he was looking forward to putting whatever happened behind the city.

“This case has taken a toll on all involved. While I’m relieved that it is over, I believe it should serve as another reminder that we must treat our staff with dignity and respect," the mayor said in a statement. "I hope we can now remain focused on working together for the good of our city.”

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