Fresno Unified school board candidate Andrew Doris is disputing a police report of a 1996 methamphetamine possession arrest that contains details that are different from his recollection of the incident.
In a news conference last week, Doris said the meth found in his car belonged to a former colleague with a drug problem. He said he had given the man a ride to a house in Pinedale and was pulled over soon after for having an expired registration.
But a police report of the incident states that when asked, Doris identified a white powdery substance in a clear plastic bag on the driver's side floorboard as meth.
"He said the substance was 'probably meth,' " the report reads, detailing Doris' comments. "He told me the drugs were in his car for a long time and would not tell me any further information such as when or where he purchased them."
Doris, a business consultant challenging incumbent Carol Mills in the race for the District 5 trustee seat representing the Fresno High area, said he will "dispute the fact" that police saw the meth in his car.
"I don't recall that," he said. "I don't know why that would be in the report that way."
Doris -- whose account last week had the drug on the passenger side of the car -- said the friend "tried to give me that little bag of meth for trying to be nice to him" when he bought the man some food.
"I told him I didn't want it," Doris said. "I told him I'm not into that. So he either left it on purpose or on accident. When the cops asked me about it, I realized it was him and I wasn't going to rat him out."
The felony charge was dismissed after Doris completed a drug-diversion program. He was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol when he was arrested, police records show.
The Bee requested a copy of the report last week after Doris announced his news conference. Fresno police found the report in department archives late last week.
According to the report, two officers in a patrol car pulled over Doris' 1985 Honda Civic on Nov. 16, 1996. One approached the car on the driver's side, the other on the passenger's side.
While the officer on the driver's side talked to Doris, the other officer noticed "drugs on the driver floorboard of the vehicle." The drugs, the report said, were in plain sight.
The second officer also noticed "what appeared to be the butt of a handgun protruding from under the driver seat." At that point, the second officer drew his gun and Doris was told to get out of his car. He was then handcuffed and put in the backseat of the patrol car.
After searching Doris' car, police found that the suspected gun was a knife in a "brown leather sheath," the report stated.
Doris said Monday he bought the knife from a local person who made them.
"They didn't see it (the drug) until they got in and searched the car," Doris said. "If they said they saw it from the outside, that is not true. Why ask to search the car if they already know it (the drug) was there?"
Another discrepancy between the police report and Doris' comments last week were about the nature of the circumstances surrounding his arrest.
Doris said police were watching the house where he dropped off his friend, which he called a drug house. Police said they were on patrol, northbound on Ingram Avenue at Alluvial Avenue, when they noticed Doris' car had expired registration tags.
"The cops told me they were dealing drugs out of that house," Doris said Monday, referring to where he had dropped off his friend. "They told me to tell them about it. I told them 'it sounds like you know more about it than I do.' That's why I assumed they were surveilling the house."
As he did at his news conference last week, Doris blamed Mills for dredging up the matter to take attention off of the school district, which he said is struggling.
"If you want to nitpick about what happened 16 years ago, go ahead," he said. "I've got thick skin and broad shoulders and I'll take it all day."
Doris said he was committed to the race because there is a "culture of bullying and intimidation that our teachers work under every day."
Mills last week said she was aware of the meth charge but never has brought it up in public.
Doris said Mills made veiled comments during an endorsement interview before the Fresno Chamber of Commerce's political action committee about doing background checks on candidates.
Mills dismissed the accusation Monday, saying it was nothing more than an offhand comment about whether the Chamber still did the checks, so she would know how long it might take to make the endorsement.
The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6320, email@example.com or @johnellis24 on Twitter.