TRUMBULL COUNTY Aide to Rep. Ryan faces speeding, drug charges
The staff member has been involved in several community projects.
WARREN -- Willie C. Harris Jr., community projects coordinator for U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Niles, D-17th, faces charges of speeding, driving under suspension and drug possession.
Harris, 34, of North Park Avenue, Apt. 5, was stopped Jan. 14 on Youngstown Road Southeast going 50 mph in a 30 mph zone, the city police report says.
Officer Tim Parana's report says Harris tried to chew up marijuana as police approached his car.
"He was asked to spit the object out, but he refused," the report states, adding the officer could smell the odor of marijuana from the Harris' mouth.
Harris also placed a piece of a plastic bag in the middle of the front seat, and eventually spit a portion of the substance onto his lap, the report continues.
Asked to leave the vehicle, Harris was checked for weapons or any other drugs. He continued to chew and then spit the remainder of the suspected marijuana into a Youngstown Road parking lot, the report states. The suspected marijuana was taken as evidence.
Harris was issued a summons and is scheduled to appear Feb. 16 in Warren Municipal Court.
No one from Ryan's offices locally or in Washington returned calls Friday. A published report says Harris is on an unpaid administrative leave from the staff.
Last summer, Harris was among the city officials, community leaders and Warren-Trumbull Urban League officials who met to discuss the use of force by law enforcement.
Last fall, Harris was the special guest for the Back to School Blow Out at Third Christian Church, which aimed to encourage and motivate young people to be successful as they start school.
In 2003, he coordinated a project for Trumbull County's YouthBuild and the Social Security office that brought two new picnic tables to the Social Security office. YouthBuild members built the tables.