Eric Mays Not Guilty Verdict Proves That Flint is Broken [OPINION]
ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI
City Councilman Eric Mays was found not guilty after being arrested for drinking and driving the wrong way on I-475 with four flat tires... in addition to possession of marijuana. Are you f---ing kidding me?
Flint residents have been forced to stomach a lot of bulls--- of late. There are the public safety cuts, the collapsing school system, the water rate hike despite the fact that Flint is saving $13 million a year on water now that it comes from the Flint River and not Detroit, not to mention that we're still the second most violent city in America. You take all of those things and add it to the fact that class clown/City Councilman Eric Mays just made a complete mockery of our legal system and our local government and got away with it -- it's enough to make you scream... or move out.
The entire trial has been a s---show of the highest order. He chose to represent himself because he was too bullheaded to follow his attorney's advice to accept a plea deal. In reality, his attorney was correct. A plea was the best option Mays had... or so we thought.
After choosing to represent himself, Mays was repeatedly reprimanded by the judge for making an absolute fool of himself and completely disrespecting the court and the legal process at large. He even tried to say that his dentures interfered with the breathalyzer (not a real thing, BTW). On top of that, he never once presented a viable defense or proof that he was innocent of the four charges he was facing.
Mays spoke to our sister station WFNT prior to the beginning of the trial and presented a bunch of different scenarios, without saying that any of them were true. He said that something might have been slipped in his drink that night, his tires might have been tampered with and that someone else might have been driving, but it wasn't for him to say which happened-- it was for the jury to decide. That's not how an innocent man tells his story. Innocent men don't lay out a bunch of scenarios that "might have" happened for the jury to pick which ever one they can believe in. They tell the truth of the one way things did happen with conviction and honor.
The only noteworthy defense strategy (and it was half-assed at best) Mays even attempted was calling one of his buddies up to the stand to have him incriminate himself by implying he was the driver, not Mays. That didn't go over well with anyone in the courtroom and the final verdict proves that the jury didn't buy it either. They found Mays not guilty on three charges -- drunk driving, refusing to be fingerprinted and possession of marijuana -- but did find him guilty of the lesser charge of being visibly impaired while driving, which proves that they did not buy his "I wasn't driving" defense.
If the jury is saying that he was, in fact, drinking and driving, how do they give him a pass on everything else? How can they even justify moving his drunk driving charge to a lesser offense? They are admitting, with their verdict, the they do believe that Mays was drinking and driving. So he lied to the jury about that, but they chose to believe some of his theory that this is all a conspiracy a to make a local city councilman, who has no real authority or power anyway because of our Emergency Financial Manger situation, look bad.
The jury is basically saying that the Genesee Township and Flint Police officers involved lied on the stand, planted evidence and neglected to get Mr. Mays fingerprints (a standard procedure which would not be overlooked in an arrest of this nature). The jury chose to take Mays' word over that of officers who put their lives on the line every day to keep us safe. Nice job, jury.
This whole thing is a major slap in the face to the law-abiding taxpayers of Flint. It's an even bigger slap in the face to those who've made the mistake of drinking and driving before and had to go through the ringer. I'm not justifying drinking and driving in any way. It's dangerous and stupid and those who are guilty of it should go through the ringer so they understand just how serious it is.
Several years back I was arrested as the result of a situation that has similarities to that of Mr. Mays (minus the expressway, marijuana, fingerprint refusal and flat tires). Now I could've said I wasn't driving and that someone roofied me, etc. But I didn't. I swallowed my pride and took my lumps like a man, because I was ashamed of what I did. Everyone makes mistakes, and that was my biggest. I'm not proud of it and rarely talk about it, but the repercussions of that experience helped make me who I am today.
I spent the next several years without a license and had to jump through a ton of legal hoops (spending a lot of money in the process) and I deserved all of it, probably more. I also spent those years coming to terms with what I did and thinking about how I could've killed somebody that night and feeling lucky that I got a second chance not just at freedom, but at life. I was able to have that sort of profound understanding of my mistakes because of what I was forced to do as punsihment for my crime. I ended up being a better person because of it and having a much greater appreciation of human life and just how fragile it is.
A jury just deprived Eric Mays of having that same kind of experience. They enabled him to think he can get away with things like this with little to no consequence. Hopefully, the next time he makes a mistake like this no one is hurt, because the blood will be on the hands of the jury.
Not surprisingly, Mays plans to appeal the one charge he was found guilty of. His sentencing will take place July 18th at 8:30a.