Alabama mayor withdraws complaint after fight at City Hall

AP News
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Posted: Dec 17, 2015 12:27 AM
Alabama mayor withdraws complaint after fight at City Hall

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama mayor on Wednesday withdrew his complaint against a city councilman after a fight at City Hall that left both men hospitalized with minor injuries.

Birmingham Mayor William Bell said in an emailed statement that he was withdrawing his complaint against Councilman Marcus Lundy out of concern "about the overall good of the city."

The mayor's spokeswoman, April Odom, distributed a municipal court filing showing that a warrant for Lundy's arrest had been withdrawn.

"The councilman regrets any negative impact this situation has caused and looks forward to returning to doing work for the City as soon as possible," Lundy's attorney, John Lentine, said in an email.

Bell and Lundy were having a closed-door discussion in a room behind council chambers when a commotion could be heard from inside the council meeting.

According to a police report, Bell and Lundy had been discussing a city matter and Bell said Lundy started talking about a personal issue and began cursing at him. It's unclear exactly what the two had been talking about.

Bell told police he turned and tried leaving the room, but 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, police said in the report.

The mayor underwent a CT scan and an MRI after the fight, Odom said. Council President Johnathan Austin showed photos of scrapes on the back of Lundy's left leg during a news conference.

After the fight, Austin told reporters that the scuffle was indicative of the mayor's unwillingness to work with council.

At a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new office space Wednesday morning, Austin lauded Bell's economic development efforts and told the audience that Bell has been a great ambassador for the city although they don't always agree on everything.

Bell wasn't at the event. Odom said in an email that the mayor's schedule had been cleared to give him more time to recover.