In the annals of local muck, lawmaker assault is a consistent subcategory. Maybe it's the pressures of the job, but this week we meet yet another: Rep. Borris Miles (D-Houston).
Miles was indicted this past Monday for two counts of deadly assault. Though many in this category could be called impulsive, few appear quite so conflicted in heart and mind as Borris Miles.
Miles was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 2006. His notoriety began only four months later when he was walking through the capitol with his two children and saw a couple of paintings he found offensive. The paintings were curated by an anti-death penalty group. The first depicted a lynching, the second an electrocution with the caption "Doing God's Work." Mile's response? He took them off the walls and hid them in his office. Why Miles freaked out is not quite clear. He later said that part of the problem was that the paintings were displayed without an explanatory note, and "As a black man, I was offended on the first one, and as a Christian on the second one."
The following July, Miles shot a man who was attempting to burglarize his construction site. Miles, a former police officer, had a license for the gun, and was never charged-- he was protected by a self-defense law. A law he opposed. The New York Times reported:
In July, Mr. Miles confronted a robber at his home construction site and shot him in the leg. No charges were filed, but he said he still opposed the new law. "We have a right to defend ourselves in our home. I support that and I always will," Mr. Miles said. But the law went too far, he said, by expanding the right to use deadly force in the workplace and one's automobile.
But apparently restraint is not much of a watchword for Miles.
In December 2007, Miles had a real red letter day.
In the afternoon, he brandished a pistol while threatening Texas Southern University regent Willard Jackson and his wife during a Rockets/Mavericks game at the Toyota Center.
In the evening, he forced his way into an invitation-only party of a business rival, and threatened another husband-wife pair. First brandishing his pistol again, then telling them that he is a "thug" and a "gangster," and then forcibly kissing the wife, then her husband:
Hall (the prosecution) said his client, party host David Harris, decided to press charges after a drunken Miles shocked guests with loud, profane language, grabbed his face and planted a Godfather-style "kiss of death" on his cheeks. Harris also said Miles handed him a pistol and declared, "You don't know what I'm capable of doing."
On January 14th, Miles' lawyer said that Miles "disagrees" with the reports of the event.
However, on Wednesday, he turned himself in. He's currently out on bail, facing up to $4,000 in fines and a year in jail. Unfortunately for Miles, his political career isn't in the balance, since earlier this year he lost in the Democratic primary to the former Texas rep he beat in 2006. Since the indictment, he's managed to keep quiet and has made no statement.