North Texas mayor charged with assault in Austin last month

A mayor of a tiny North Texas town, whose pro-marijuana stance led to the resignations of several city officials when he was elected in May, was recently arrested on a charge of assault in Travis County.

Jeremiah Looney

Jeremiah Looney

Jeremiah Looney, a 34-year-old Army vet who serves as the mayor of Whitewright, spent about two hours in jail after he was arrested in October and accused of grabbing his girlfriend by the hair and then shaking her at an Austin motel room, records show. Looney and Whitewright staff declined to say whether his arrest will affect his position in the town with a population of about 1,700 people.

Looney and his lawyer did not respond to requests for comment. In his arrest affidavit, he denies hurting the woman who accused him.

During his campaign, Looney spoke at a Fort Worth rally for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. He was medically discharged from the Army for post-traumatic stress disorder and degeneration of the spine, he told those at the rally. The medication he was prescribed didn’t help, he said, and he repeatedly contemplated suicide. But marijuana eased his PTSD and his life-ending thoughts, he told the crowd.

“It saved my life and changed it immensely,” Looney said at the rally, a YouTube video shows.

WATCH: Jeremiah Looney testifies before Texas Senate veterans committee

Looney has stated in interviews with North Texas media that marijuana legalization was never a part of his platform.

Still, when Looney received the majority of votes cast – 175 out of 301 – on May 7, people holding the following positions at Whitewright all resigned the week after he was sworn in: police chief, city secretary, municipal judge, court clerk and the utility clerk, multiple North Texas media reported.

Whitewright City Council members did not respond to an email seeking comment about his arrest, which happened on Oct. 14.

Austin police were called to a La Quinta Inn on 11th Street in East Austin around 11 p.m., according to Looney’s arrest affidavit. Someone called police because they overheard a woman yell “let go of me.”

The woman told police she and Looney were dating, and they had gotten into an argument in one of the motel’s rooms, the affidavit says. Looney called her two different derogatory words for a woman, and she decided to leave.

When she was by the elevators, Looney grabbed her by the back of her hair using both his hands and shook her, she told police.

In the affidavit, Looney said their argument was only verbal, and he did not put his hands on her.

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