Alabama mayor, councilman fight during meeting at city hall

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- The mayor of Alabama's largest city got into a fight with a city councilman during a meeting Tuesday, sending both men to the hospital.

See Full Article

A video of the council meeting captures sounds of a man repeatedly shouting "No!" from outside the council chamber before the presiding member calls for a recess.

Members scurry past double doors decorated with Christmas wreaths toward the noise as the gavel slams down, and a perplexed look crosses the face of a man who was making a presentation.

After the dust settled, Mayor William Bell and Councilman Marcus Lundy both had minor injuries. The council meeting ended early. A man dressed up as Santa Claus sat slouched in a chair outside council chambers afterward while police lingered in the hallway.

A police report identifies Bell as the victim and says Lundy is accused of assault. Birmingham police spokesman Sean Edwards said in an email that a warrant had been issued for Lundy's arrest Tuesday night.

Bell and Lundy were in a room behind council chambers discussing a city matter and Lundy charged at Bell and started cursing at him while discussing a personal issue, the police report said.

According to the report, Bell told police he turned and tried leaving the room three times, but that Lundy closed the door each time before grabbing him by the neck from behind and putting him in a chokehold.

Two of Lundy's assistants came into the room to break up the scuffle but refused to give interviews with police until after they spoke with legal counsel, police said.

Bell suffered bruising on the right side of his neck and swelling in his left knee, the report said. Bell's spokeswoman April Odom said the mayor underwent a CT scan and an MRI after the fight. Council President Johnathan Austin showed photos of scrapes on the back of Lundy's left leg during a news conference.

A city council attorney told investigators Lundy would not immediately give police a statement. Austin said Lundy told him that he planned to file charges against Bell.

Odom said Lundy recently had to return the city vehicle he was driving because the law prohibits council members from having municipal vehicles. It's unclear whether that factored into the confrontation, she said. An audio recording from a committee meeting on Monday captured a terse exchange between city councilmembers and the mayor's chief of staff about the procedure that was used to retrieve the vehicle.

Austin said Lundy alleges Bell called his place of work trying to get him fired. Odom denied that. Austin also accused Bell of being unwilling to work with the council and said the confrontation was likely the culmination of the deteriorating relationship.

"This right here is ridiculous," Austin said. "We can overcome this and we can do better and we will strive to do better as a council."

Councilwoman Kim Rafferty said there have been ongoing power struggles between Bell, 66, and the council.

"Boys need to grow up and be men and do the job they were elected to do," she said. "They need to sit across the table and talk about conflict resolution."

Bell, a former council member, has been mayor since 2010. He briefly spoke at a law enforcement training session on active shooters that included a mention of workplace violence before the council meeting but missed a chamber of commerce luncheon afterward.

Lundy, elected in 2013, has worked as an executive with several companies. He is chairman of the council's Economic Development, Budget and Finance Committee.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • 11 trapped in China's latest coal mine accident

    World News CTV News
    BEIJING - A gas explosion has trapped 11 Chinese coal miners underground, in the latest in a string of deadly accidents striking the industry after 53 miners were killed in two similar blasts last week. Source
  • Families could pay up to $420 more for food in 2017, report finds

    Canada News CBC News
    The average Canadian family may need to dish out as much as $420 more for food next year — and consumers could have president-elect Donald Trump to thank for part of the price bump, the lead author of a new report says. Source
  • Trump's Taiwan call could disrupt 'very calibrated dance' between U.S., China

    World News CBC News
    A phone call and a diplomatic reset? It's not ever quite that simple when it comes to relations between America, China and Taiwan. Handled the wrong way and it can get downright hostile. More than two decades before U.S. Source
  • Trump signals tougher China policy, possibly by accident

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- Whether by accident or design, President-elect Donald Trump is signalling a tougher American policy toward China, sparking warnings from both the outgoing Obama administration and Beijing. On Monday, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said progress with the Chinese could be "undermined" by a flare-up over the sovereignty of Taiwan, the self-governing island the U.S. Source
  • Edmonton dog breeding operation shut down

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    A man and woman are charged after dozens of dogs at a local breeding operation were found suffering in horrific conditions, says the Edmonton Humane Society (EHS). “I’ve been here six years now in the animal protection department and this is the worst one I’ve seen for the number of animals confined to these spaces,” said peace officer B.Grey, supervisor of Animal Protection Services with the Edmonton Humane Society. Source
  • Edmonton man admits to backing over his girlfriend with a van and driving over her

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    An Edmonton man admitted in court Monday to fleeing after hitting his longtime girlfriend with a van and driving over her — leaving her badly injured — following an argument outside a north-side casino. Jahanbakhsh Ahmadi, 51, pleaded guilty in Court of Queen's Bench to failing to stop at the scene of an accident and offer assistance, knowing that bodily harm had been caused, with intent to escape civil or criminal liability. Source
  • Edmonton police investigate after man ties noose, threatens two Muslim women

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    Edmonton police are looking for a man who harassed two Muslim women at the University LRT station earlier this month. Two young women, both wearing hijabs, were approached by a man while standing on the station platform about 8:20 a.m. Source
  • Facebook, YouTube and others introduce database to combat terrorist propaganda online

    World News CBC News
    Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube are joining forces to more quickly identify the worst terrorist propaganda and prevent it from spreading online. The new program announced Monday would create a database of unique digital "fingerprints" to help automatically identify videos or images the companies could remove. Source
  • Tamara Lovet on trial for son's death: I failed as a mother

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    The defence is arguing its case today at the trial of a woman who treated her son with dandelion tea and oil of oregano before he died of a strep infection. Tamara Lovett's trial is entering its second week in a Calgary courtroom. Source
  • B.C. fishermen survive sinking boat, only to spend night with cougar

    Canada News CTV News
    Two boaters off the coast of B.C. have an extraordinary story to tell after surviving a boat sinking and a cougar stalking them during their bid for rescue. The two men were out crab fishing on Saturday in a small boat in Discovery Passage, a narrow passage between Vancouver Island and Quadra Island, when their boat started sinking just before dark. Source