OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
A Democratic mayor in a midwestern city has issued a groveling apology after he was involved in a drinking and driving incident on Saturday night, according to reports.
The office of Fort Wayne, Indiana Mayor Tom Henry issued a statement containing his apology on Twitter after he was reportedly booked into Allen County Jail. The 70-year-old mayor was released on Sunday morning by his own recognizance. According to a report from WANE, he was charged with driving while intoxicated.
“I want to apologize to the residents of Fort Wayne and my family for the poor decision I made to get behind the wheel of a vehicle after drinking at a local function. I accept full responsibility for my actions,” the statement said.
“I’m relieved that no one was hurt in this incident. The Fort Wayne Police Department handled this situation with professionalism and followed all of the correct procedures and protocols,” Henry added.
WANE 15 has reached out to police and Fort Wayne city officials for more information.https://t.co/Pi0gYIdchR
— WANE 15 (@wane15) October 9, 2022
.@MayorTomHenry, mayor of #FortWayne, #Indiana, & a #Democrat, admitted to #DrinkingAndDriving after he was involved in a #CarAccident over the weekend, according to a statement from his office.https://t.co/1pVyqxiaWd
— Liz Goldenberg (@newstruthliz) October 10, 2022
The mayor also released a video statement following his arrest but he did not take any questions from the media.
“I am terribly embarrassed by the poor decision-making that occurred last evening,” Henry said in the briefing. “I am sorry that I put our police department in that situation last evening. I knew better… I will be held accountable for those actions in future legal proceedings. I respect our legal process, and I will adhere to decisions made by our court, and I will accept those consequences.”
“As your mayor, I will not hide from my actions, nor will I make excuses. But today I ask that you please respect my inability to speak to the facts of the matter until I am fairly and appropriately adjudicated,” Henry said.
Henry is Fort Wayne’s longest-tenured mayor. Earlier this year he announced he was running for a historic fifth term, WANE reported. He has served as mayor since 2008.
GOP mayoral candidate Tom Didier, also a city councilman, also issued a statement following news of Henry’s arrest.
“I have known the Henry family for much of my life. Cindy Henry actually was one of the first people to encourage me to run for public office. These relationships go beyond politics. I would encourage everyone to pray for them and all those involved in this accident and I hope that no one was seriously harmed,” he said.
City Council President Jason Arp added: “I was saddened to hear the news this morning. We can all be thankful that no one was injured. My family will keep the mayor and his family in our prayers during this difficult time. It’s best that we limit our comments until all investigations into the matter have been concluded.”
And Councilman Geoff Paddock issued a statement Sunday afternoon: “This is a challenging time for our city. I want to thank the Fort Wayne Police Department and our outstanding police officers for following the correct procedure and for their professionalism. I respect Mayor Tom Henry for stepping forward and taking responsibility for his actions on Saturday evening. I have known Tom and Cindy Henry for many years. They are good friends and dedicated community leaders. When those of us in the public spotlight falter, it is important to offer remorse and contrition and ask for atonement from our constituents. Mayor Henry has done that today, and I applaud him for his statement.”
At-Large Councilman Tom Freistroffer noted: “I commend the mayor’s media release comments to his family and to the citizens of Fort Wayne- it was an unfortunate accident on the mayor’s part as Mayor Tom Henry apologized in an open manner, to all -Thank God no one was injured !“
Independent Congressional candidate Nathan Gotsch stated: “Everyone makes mistakes and, like the Mayor, I am relieved that all indications are that no one was hurt. One of the requirements of holding public office is accountability and transparency in moments like these. The Mayor’s statements at his press conference earlier today are a step in the right direction, but more is still needed as this process moves forward. I encourage Mayor Henry to ask the FWPD to release the police report now so that the citizens of Fort Wayne know the full story of what happened. Only then will we as a community be able to move beyond this incident together.”