Brainard: Won’t quit council job
Grand Junction City Councilor-elect Rick Brainard on Tuesday said he intends to serve despite his arrest Saturday on suspicion of domestic violence against his live-in girlfriend.
“There has been some speculation as to whether I will withdraw from my newly elected position with the Grand Junction City Council,” Brainard said in a prepared statement, which was issued through his criminal defense attorney, Stephen Laiche. “I have no intention of withdrawing and look forward to serving on the Council as I was elected to do.”
The statement expressed appreciation for “the many calls and emails of support I have received the past few days. Thank you for acknowledging that I have not been tried or convicted of anything.”
“I knew when I decided to run for public office that public service also means public scrutiny,” Brainard continued. “Just as I promised during the campaign to listen and consider all sides of challenging issues before making policy decisions, I hope the citizens in our community will grant the same to me throughout this process.”
In his interview with police early Saturday, Brainard initially denied an altercation with his girlfriend turned physical before later admitting to pushing her, grabbing her hair, and slapping her, according to an arrest affidavit obtained by The Daily Sentinel.
“Rick stated that he slapped (girlfriend) because she needed to ‘shut her mouth,’” reads a non-redacted version of the affidavit. “Rick stated that (girlfriend) had said something so offensive that he had to slap her.”
The document continues, “When asked what offensive thing was said, Rick stated he did not remember, although later he stated she had been saying for over one hour that he was sleeping with other women.”
Brainard originally told the officer the altercation was minor and that “he may have been accidentally scratched on his forearm but that there were no intentional injuries,” the affidavit continues.
“Rick was asked if there was any other physical portions of the altercation and Rick stated there were not,” the affidavit said.
When pressed on details by an officer, “Rick then admitted that there was more than the initial tussle for the phone.”
“Rick admitted he had grabbed (girlfriend), pushed on her chest, and he admitted to slapping her on the left side of her neck/cheek area,” the affidavit said.
Under a temporary restraining order issued Monday, Brainard, 51, who was elected April 2 to the City Council’s at-large seat, is prohibited from contacting the alleged victim or being at her current residence, which is Brainard’s home at 2207 Avenal Court.
Brainard, who faces misdemeanor charges of third-degree assault and harassment, is scheduled to return to court May 6. That’s the same day he’s scheduled to be sworn into office.
A sworn councilor can be removed from office if charged with a felony while serving, Grand Junction City Attorney John Shaver said Monday.
The city’s charter says a recall petition — an affidavit from any registered city voter — must be filed with the City Clerk’s Office no earlier than three months after the targeted candidate being sworn. The affidavit must identify the councilor to be recalled and why.
Signatures from registered city voters must be returned within 30 days: At least 25 percent of the number of voters who cast ballots in the last election for governor must sign.
If approved and accepted, the petition goes to the City Council, while the councilor in question has five days to resign. If that doesn’t happen, the council must schedule an election.