HARRISVILLE -- Perry Police Chief Mike Jones, charged with disorderly conduct and impersonating a police officer, will have his case heard by a jury in May.
After a pre-trial conference Wednesday in Harrisville Justice Court, Jones and his attorney said they had expected to reach some sort of settlement with the Harrisville Police Department regarding the events that occurred at Walmart on Dec. 12. However, because the two parties were not able to reach a suitable agreement, Jones asked for a jury trial.
"I have requested a jury trial based on my belief that I am innocent of criminal wrongdoing," Jones said in a written statement after the court appearance. "I am not trying to get out of anything because of my position. I have a hard time thinking that talking or swearing in public, while standing up for my rights, protecting myself and my property, is illegal."
Misdemeanor charges were filed against Jones in December after an altercation in the parking lot at the Walmart in Harrisville.
According to police reports, Jones became confrontational when he was asked to show a sales receipt for packages he was carrying out of the store. The situation escalated when an employee followed him into the parking lot. He told store workers he was a police officer but refused to show his identification to a Harrisville officer until reportedly being threatened with arrest.
However, Jones said Wednesday there are three sides to every story -- theirs, his and, somewhere in the middle, the truth. Jones said he is adamant about sharing his side of the story in court.
"My years in law enforcement have taught me to uphold and respect the law, while protecting our rights. This is what I have worked, lived and exercised for over 25 years," Jones said. "I hope to think, regardless of my position, that I too have those rights. There are several areas in this case that I have some serious concerns with, but I am more focused on court right now."
A final pre-trial conference has been scheduled for May 4, and the jury trial was set for May 13. In the meantime, Jones remains on unpaid administrative leave. His continued employment as chief of the Perry City Police Department is dependent on the outcome of his case.