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August 15th, 2001 PHILIP DAWDY | News Stories
 

WWeek Web Exclusive

Embattled school board member Derry Jackson was arrested in 1998 for allegedly threatening his wife.

     
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Embattled Portland School Board member Derry Jackson was arrested and charged with menacing in 1998 after his wife told police he assaulted her.

According to Portland police reports, Jackson and his wife, Bernel Michael Jackson, were driving to their St. Johns home from the Copper Penny nightclub shortly after midnight on April 4, 1998, when they engaged in a heated argument.

Mrs. Jackson told police that Jackson was upset with her because she would not dance with him at the popular Southeast Portland hot spot.

Mrs. Jackson then jumped out of the car at the east end of the St. Johns Bridge, according to a police report--near the Portland Police Bureau's north precinct on North Philadelphia Street.

Mrs. Jackson told police officers that her husband then got out of the vehicle and followed her on foot. A verbal argument ensued, she said, during which Jackson grabbed her neck "with both hands," and threw her to the pavement.

Officer Romanaggi was just leaving the precinct and heard Mrs. Jackson "crying and wailing very loudly," according to the police report. Officer Romanaggi escorted her into the precinct.

Jackson followed them into the precinct lobby, where Officer Dalberg termed his behavior "uncooperative" and noted that Jackson "used his hands in aggressive motions and was acting in a threatening manner toward us (police)."

Mrs. Jackson told police that her husband was not "usually physically aggressive," according to the police report.

Jackson was arrested and transported to the downtown Justice Center. Neither his wife nor the district attorney's office filed a formal complaint.

Stacey Heyworth, a senior deputy district attorney in Multnomah County's domestic-violence unit, said that the DA's office would typically not pursue a case if the victim refused to cooperate unless there were other eyewitness testimony on which to base the case.

School board members contacted by WW were cautious in their assessment of Jackson's case.

"Does it concern me?" said school board chairwoman Debbie Menashe. "Of course, it concerns me as a board member and as a citizen." She told WW that board members did not know about the 1998 incident when they appointed Jackson to fill an open board seat in 1999.

Asked whether Jackson should resign, Menashe said, "That is ultimately a decision Derry needs to make."

Neither Jackson nor Mrs. Jackson returned WW's requests for comment.

School board members Lolenzo Poe and Karla Wenzel declined to comment on the menacing charge against Jackson.

As reported in today's WW, Jackson was also cited in 1994 for having an open alcohol container in his Ford Taurus. The incident occurred at 5:45 pm on Jan. 21, 1994, on North Lombard Street. Jackson was fined $55.

 
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