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Clayton Perry won't resign from San Antonio City Council, and the council won't ask him to

The San Antonio City Council removed a call on Monday asking District 10 Councilman Clayton Perry for his resignation amid allegations of being involved in a hit and run and potentially drunk driving. It was a near complete reversal from its original stance last week.

The council voted 8-1 with two abstentions to remove the resignation request from a resolution that ultimately gave Perry a no confidence vote. San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg was the lone no vote that wanted to keep the resignation language.

District 8 Councilman Manny Pelaez made the motion to remove that language. District 1 Councilman Mario Bravo seconded the motion.

“I heard you tell us that you are going to be seeking rehabilitation for your problem," he said. "That's even more important to me — taking ownership plus that knowing that you’ve got a problem are two very important steps out of 12, that a lot of us are familiar with.”

The council approved a temporary leave of absence for Perry, which started the process of appointing a temporary council member until he returns.

Perry announced earlier on Monday that he planned to take a sabbatical from the council. He said he did not plan to resign.

"I'm human, and I made a bad decision — a huge one," Perry said earlier on Monday. He asked the council for "compassion" — which seemed to be what the council gave him.

Perry also declined to comment after the council's deliberations.

By the end of the 90 minute discussion and public comments, District 6 Councilwoman Melissa Cabello Havrda supported the amendment to the resolution and said she did not want Perry to resign. District 4 Councilwoman Adriana Rocha Garcia, District 5 Councilwoman Teri Castillo, District 7 Councilwoman Ana Sandoval, and District 9 Councilman John Courage also supported the amendment.

Rocha Garcia also offered another amendment to allow for a temporary appointment in the District 10 office while Perry takes his temporary leave of absence. It was seconded and carried.

Members of the audience applauded as Perry first entered the council chambers, about an hour after his press conference. Some of his council colleagues shook his hand, including Nirenberg, or embraced him.

Once the meeting began, the public spoke first.

Michael Anderson, a Perry supporter, said Perry has been out front in bringing property tax relief. He says Perry failed himself but never betrayed his constituents. Anderson added that he was concerned over the process to appoint someone to fill Perry's seat.

Lon Jett said, "Everything [Perry] does turns to gold. ... He messed up. He already said that. ... Let's vote no [on the resolution.]"

Peggy Sue Wilson-Schmueckle said that "this was an accident not a pre-planned criminal conspiracy or cover-up." She added that "Perry has owned up to his actions" and this should now be for the courts to decide. "This should not be 'Judge Judy,' " she said.

James Hamilton disagreed with the supportive comments. He said Perry asked for white privilege, referring to Perry's request for compassion from the council and his plan to take a sabbatical instead of resigning. "He's asking for something for that every other person in San Antonio doesn't get," Hamilton said. "You're not going to get white privilege on this. ... Resign. Go get the help you need."

Jeff McManus, chair of the Bexar County Republican Party, thanked Perry "for acknowledging your errors. ... I don't believe the council should be taking this action today." McManus asked the council to allow Perry his time for reflection.

The supportive words did not dissuade some members. District 2 Councilman Jalen McKee-Rodriguez issued the motion to move the resolution forward. District 3 Councilwoman Phyllis Viagran seconded the motion.

McKee-Rodriguez said that this has been a terrible time for San Antonio, and he gave Perry credit for being an effective councilman for San Antonio. However, he added, "when we make mistakes, how we make them is important," and so is how people take accountability for them.

District 1 Councilman Mario Bravo said that "drinking and driving and a hit and run are serious crimes." However, he added that the process to ask for Perry's resignation felt rushed. He abstained from the vote on the resolution.

At that point, Pelaez proposed his amendment, and the meeting took the turn that led to the final vote and gentler decision on Perry.

The series of announcements and statements followed the release of body cam footage on Thursday showing the councilman possibly inebriated following an alleged hit and run.

Perry faced one charge of failing to stop and exchange information. It was unclear if he was formally charged with DUI. The councilman remained out on bond.

The 13-minute body cam video showed SAPD officer Patrick Des Rosiers arriving at Perry’s Northeast Side home just a few blocks away from the accident at Redland Road and Jones Maltsberger.

It began with the officer seeing Perry’s black Jeep Wrangler running in the driveway.

According to the police report and video, Perry, who is referred to as S1, was approached by the officer in his backyard at 10:15 p.m., as seen on timestamps in the video.

“I heard a moaning sound coming from the backyard of the location. The gate was open, and I could see a male, lying on the ground. I approached S1 and saw a laceration to his head. S1 was wearing a black Polo shirt and light khaki shorts. I contacted S1 and observed him to be slow to answer questions, confused about recent events of the evening, and once he was standing was very unsteady on his feet,” the report said.

In the video, De Rosiers questioned Perry multiple times, asking if he was driving, and where he had been, and if he had been drinking, and if he was able to stand up.

In response, Perry said he was “just trying to get into my house,” and he denied several times that he had been drinking or driving.

“I’m not gonna lie — I ask a lot of questions that I already know the answer to,” De Rosiers said. “So the more you lie to me, the harder this is for you — easier for me, harder for you.”

“Yeah,” Perry responded.

“So who was driving?” he asked.

“Not me,” Perry said.
De Rosiers called an ambulance for medical treatment but Perry ultimately refused to be treated.

After finding Perry’s wallet, he asked if he could pull out his ID, to which the councilman said, "yes," and Perry’s yellow City of San Antonio ID badge could be seen in one of the wallet's pockets.

By the end of the footage, he asked Perry if he could search his Jeep to find his house keys, which Perry appeared unable to locate. However, the councilman declined.

While the entire video lasted 13 minutes and 37 seconds, the footage ended at 10:41 p.m., meaning the entire encounter between the officer and Perry was about 26 minutes. There were several cuts in the video, with a large piece missing while EMS spoke with Perry.

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Joey Palacios can be reached atJoey@TPR.org and on Twitter at @Joeycules