Councilman Clayton Perry ducks questions from reporters as he returns to city council amid legal troubles

Perry faces DWI and Failure To Stop And Give Information charges in Nov. 6 head-on hit-and-run

San Antonio – A little less than two months after he took a leave of absence, Clayton Perry reclaimed his District 10 seat again with the rest of the San Antonio City Council on Thursday.

Although he delivered a set of brief, prepared remarks from the dais, Perry ducked further questions from reporters on multiple occasions Thursday.

The North Side Councilman still faces charges for DWI and failure to stop and give information for a Nov. 6 head-on, hit-and-run crash. Police say Perry had 14 alcoholic drinks in four hours shortly before the crash, from which he then fled.

A San Antonio Police officer later found Perry, who represents Council District 10, lying on the ground in his backyard, moaning with a cut on his head and smelling of alcohol.

While the City Charter requires council members to forfeit their office for felony or misdemeanor convictions involving “moral turpitude,” both of Perry’s cases are ongoing.

In his statement, Perry thanked his fellow council members for letting him take time off “to work on me” and said he was thankful no one else was hurt.

“It’s been a tough couple of months, but I want to assure everyone that I kept my commitment I made at the last meeting to follow all the appropriate measures as recommended by medical experts and will continue to do so,” Perry said.

“I’m not done, and again ask for everyone’s compassion and forgiveness. I’m 100 percent devoted to ensuring this never happens again and to regain your confidence.”

However, Perry did not say exactly why he decided to come back at this time. He also avoided other questions from reporters before and during the meeting.

Approached by a KSAT reporter on his way into Thursday’s meeting, Perry largely deferred to the statement he planned to deliver, though he did say he hadn’t “even thought about” whether he would seek reelection on the May 6 ballot.

Later, during a break for a closed-doors session, Perry refused to stop and talk with numerous media outlets, saying little beyond “I’ve given y’all my statement. I’ve got an exec session to get to.”

He avoided questions a third time during a lunch break as he headed back to City Hall. Asked why he had decided to come back with the charges still pending, Perry insisted it was in his statement. He also refused to talk about his DWI charge.

Councilman Clayton Perry made his return to City Council on Thursday. He was confronted by reporters multiple times throughout the day.

Perry then skipped an afternoon city council briefing because he had to handle a personal matter, his chief of staff said.

Perry did not return a phone call or text message seeking further comment Thursday.

The North Side Councilman took his leave of absence, which he originally called a “sabbatical,” on Nov. 14 — the day of a special City Council meeting.

While fellow council members passed a vote of “no-confidence,” most of them voted first to remove from the resolution a request for Perry to resign his seat.

Mayor Ron Nirenberg was the only one to vote against that motion and reiterated his stance in an emailed statement to KSAT Wednesday.

“I have been clear from the very start. If the allegations against Councilman Perry are true, he should resign from City Council,” he said.

Meanwhile, Perry abstained from voting on the amendment to the resolution along with District 2 Councilman Jalen McKee-Rodriguez.

McKee-Rodriguez told KSAT Wednesday “I did immediately regret not voting ‘no.’”

The other eight council members all voted in favor of dropping the resignation request.

At the time, Perry was only facing a charge of failure to stop and provide information. However, after further investigation, SAPD filed a DWI case with prosecutors for which Perry was eventually booked on Dec. 28.

“I think in light of new details, it may have been different for some,” said District 3 Councilwoman Phyllis Viagran.

Perry has a scheduled court appearance for both charges on Jan. 24 via Zoom. He is scheduled to be arraigned in the DWI case on Jan. 30.

The San Antonio City Council will meet next on Jan. 25 for a closed-door session at the city’s emergency operations center at Brooks City Base.

About the Authors:

Garrett Brnger is a reporter with KSAT 12.

Sal Salazar is a photojournalist at KSAT 12. Before coming to KSAT in 1998, he worked at the Fox affiliate in San Antonio. Sal started off his career back in 1995 for the ABC Affiliate in Lubbock and has covered many high-profile news events since. In his free time, he enjoys spending time at home, gaming and loves traveling with his wife.