Detroit City Councilman Scott Benson arrested in Southfield, found slumped over, passed out in car

SOUTHFIELD, Mich., (WXYZ) - Detroit City Councilman Scott Benson has been arrested. Southfield Police say an arrest was made Sunday at 7:30 p.m. after they received a call regarding a driver slumped over at a traffic light at 8 Mile near the southbound Southfield Rd. service drive.

Benson was released from police custody after posting a $500 bond Monday morning.

Benson would not answer questions about his arrest when he left the Southfield jail Monday morning with an attorney.

Police arrested Benson after finding him passed out in a black 2008 Ford Crown Victoria. Detroit City Attorney Butch Hollowell said that the car is a city-owned vehicle. 

The city is in the process of taking possession of the vehicle.

Sources tell 7 Action News that Benson was ticketed for failure to take a preliminary breath test. Standard procedure is to then draw blood to obtain a blood alcohol level. However, it could take weeks once the blood sample is submitted to Michigan State Police.

Sources are also telling 7 Action News that Benson's car is the same car that former City Council President Charles Pugh was driving when he was involved in an accident in Royal Oak in August of 2012. Pugh was issued a ticket in that accident.

Hollowell says that Councilman Benson signed an acknowledgement of rules of using a city vehicle on January 7. The rules stat that violating any traffic laws may constitute misconduct in performance of duties.

That disciplinary action is up to and including dismissal from the city. However, they cannot fire a city council member as they could a staffer. 

If a violation is determined to have occurred, the person using the city vehicle can be asked to immediately surrender the vehicle back to the city and is required to promptly comply with the demand.

What is not clear is the due process for Benson. The City attorney will be working with the city council and mayor to decide if this incident needs to be adjudicated with a guilty result. So far, he has only been arrested and posted bond to get out of the city lockup - not charged.

Benson released this statement to the 7 Action News Investigators:

   “I was detained last night by the Southfield Police on suspicion of impaired driving. I am working through this matter with legal counsel and other personal resources. I apologize to my constituents and colleagues for the distraction; and I look forward to continuing my work to move Detroit in a positive direction.” 

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and City Council President Brenda Jones released a joint statement about the arrest on Monday morning.

"We have recently learned that misdemeanor charges are being sought against Councilman Scott Benson," they said.

"We have no first-hand facts about the matter and we will not speculate. Instead we will let the judicial system proceed in its normal course.  In the meantime, we will remain focused on getting the City’s business done," the mayor and council president said.

A warrant will be requested after the blood alcohol test results are released.


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