GALVESTON — Newly elected District 1 City Councilman Tarris Woods has been accused of threatening a man inside City Hall.

According to a voluntary statement form filed with the Galveston Police Department, the alleged incident took place at 10:45 a.m. in the city secretary’s office.

Benjamin Matthew Hannon, 63, told police in the statement that he visited the city secretary’s office to obtain a copy of the city charter. At the same time he was there, Hannon said, Woods was in the office speaking to City Secretary Janelle Williams.

After Woods finished speaking to Williams, Hannon said that Woods walked toward him.

“Tarris walked to the doors that leads to the lobby of city hall and as he passed me he said, ‘You better stay off my property or I will kick your ass,’” Hannon wrote in the statement.

Hannon said that he interpreted the comment as a “terroristic threat.”

Police officials told The Daily News that they would investigate the complaint, but that no charges had been filed as of Wednesday. 

Woods did not return multiple calls for comment about the incident on Wednesday.

Hannon has a public history with Woods, largely centered around protests about Woods’ residency in District 1. Hannon claims that Woods resides permanently in a house in District 5 and is ineligible to represent District 1.

Hannon said he was requesting the charter from the city specifically to review residency requirements. Hannon said he had also recently canvassed the Colony Park subdivision looking for residents who would testify that Woods lives in District 5.

Before Woods’ was sworn on June 30, Hannon spoke during the public comment portion of the City Council meetings.

“You have to live in District 1,” Hannon told the council. “I don’t understand what he doesn’t understand about that.”

No council members addressed Hannon’s claims during the meeting.

On Wednesday, Mayor Jim Yarbrough said he did not believe the complaint made about Woods would affect the council’s work, and added that the police department should be allowed to investigate the complaint before making any conclusions.

Addressing the other claims, about Woods’ residency, Yarbrough said the city had followed all its procedures to affirm that Woods was eligible to hold his seat.

“We felt that we’ve done our due diligence,” Yarbrough said.

Contact reporter John Wayne Ferguson at 409-683-5226 or

(13) comments

Miceal O'Laochdha

And the Tarris circus begins...

His triumph at the runoff box will probably resultg in failure of anything the new Council may try to do; as City business become subservient to the "Tarris Woods Show".

Glad to see the new Mayor believes that won't happen but, he pretty much has to say that, regardless of what he really thinks. Jim is hardly one to admit failure before he gets started but, Woods on Council will likely derail any issue other than those that involve him.

Allison Buchtien

I totally agree. This council was looking like it would be very productive. I hope they don't let Woods ruin those prospects. What is up with the voters in District 1? Do they have their heads in the sand?

Evelyn Clark

I think a bit of RACISIM is going on in this forum. He can not be as bad as soime of the others its just that his skin is BLACK. I do not live in Distric 1 but the voters wanted him in and he won.

[sad ][sad]

Mary Branum

I would like to know "what due diligence" the city has taken regarding his residency. Everyone knows he lives in Colony Park.
I also would like to know why everyone is afraid of him?

You are correct in the forthcoming "Tarris Woods Show"; it is all about him!

Evelyn Clark


GW Cornelius

Sad day for Galveston when someone like Woods can hold office at all.

Jarvis Buckley

I believe ,these comments are a sign of tremendous over reaction. I personally don't care where TW lives, just want him to do his job for this Island,as he has sworn to do. No doubt JY and BM will
Keep him in check. TW is smarter than many people give him credit for. I believe he really loves Galveston. He is smarter than most folk , that's for sure.

Mary Branum

According to the City Charter, council members are to live in their district. I do care where he lives as I reside in District 1.
TW is smart like a fox and quick to sue whomever goes against him. Is that really the representation we want?
I have seen no improvement in the district nor has he bothered to come around to introduce himself and ask what is needed.
He didn't do anything for this district before when he was on council; I don't expect anything now.

Harry Allen

I heard on the news today that the circus is in Houston...I am certain that would be a much better place for Tarris Woods than the City Council in Galveston...

John Merritt

Woods breaks all the rules and we are afraid to call him out. Walking voters into the courthouse? Where are the election officials?

John Merritt

Ask the firemen in Galveston and they will tell you about Woods. Go Matt.

Ana Draa

Mr. Woods opponent in the runoff election was the incumbant councilwoman, Cornelia Harris Banks, a beloved, dedicated public servant who also happens to be black. Its illogical to claim the complaints against Woods, in favor of Harris Banks are because of race when they are both black. The real differences between these 2 candidates, Cornelia actually resides in District 1 and broke no election laws.

Debra Criss

everyone knows where TW lives. The house in Colony Park is listed on the CAD as belonging to his wife.

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