Birmingham mayor’s office says arrest warrant issued for councilor after fight – WTVM

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -

Birmingham Mayor William Bell’s office says an arrest warrant has been issued for Councilor Marcus Lundy after he and the mayor got into a fight at City Hall that sent them both to the hospital. 

The mayor’s office says the warrant has been sent to Birmingham Police Chief A.C. Roper. 

Bell and Lundy got into a physical altercation in council chambers and outside of public view just before 10 a.m. on Tuesday, according to one of Lundy’s assistants. They both intend to press charges against each other.

The fight left Mayor Bell, 66, with a sprained knee, a crushed vocal cord and a contusion. He will have to have rehab for his knee injury.

While Bell was at the hospital, he got a CT scan and an MRI, according to a tweet from the mayor’s office. 

Lundy, 48, was treated for injuries to his thigh and leg, according to City Council President Johnathan Austin who shared photos of Lundy’s injuries with media. 

Both men have since been released from the hospital.

The Birmingham City Council released video that captures sounds and commotion from the fight that could be heard during their Tuesday meeting. Councilors briefly adjourned the meeting after hearing noises and a yell from the council chamber. 

Mayor Bell has already sworn out a warrant for Lundy’s arrest. Around 5:30 p.m., Bell’s office confirmed a warrant had been signed by a judge for Lundy’s arrest. Around 6:30 p.m., Bell’s office said the arrest warrant had been sent to Chief Roper.

Bell’s office also released the police report filed after the mayor and Lundy got into the fight. 

The police report lists Bell as the victim and Lundy as the offender. It says Lundy will be charged with third degree assault. 

[PDF: Police report on fight between Mayor Bell and Councilor Lundy]

According to the police report, Mayor Bell asked to speak with Councilor Lundy about a city matter. Bell said Lundy started to change the subject and tried talking to him about a personal issue.

“Mayor Bell stated Councilman Lundy started cursing him and getting loud. Mayor Bell stated at this point he let Councilman Lundy know he was no longer going to stay and listen to him,” the report says.

The police report says Mayor Bell turned to leave and grabbed the door but Lundy pushed it closed.

“Mayor Bell stated he attempted to leave by opening the door two more times and each time Councilman Lundy pushed the door closed. Mayor Bell stated all of a sudden Councilman Lundy grabbed him from behind and put him in a choke hold,” the report states.

Mayor Bell told police he kept telling Lundy “No” and to stop. The mayor said two of Lundy’s assistants opened the door and got Lundy off of him. Both of the assistants refused to give police a statement until they spoke with an attorney. 

“Mayor Bell had bruising on the right side of his neck and swelling to his left knee,” the police report states. 

Police were dispatched to City Hall at 9:58 a.m. 

The police report says Birmingham officers tried to speak with Lundy, but a city council attorney told them Lundy would not give a statement at this time. 

The police officer who filed the report stated that he was unable to observe Lundy’s injuries at the time. 

Lundy was treated by Birmingham Fire and Rescue at the scene and taken to UAB Highland by a private vehicle. Mayor Bell was also treated at the scene by Birmingham Fire Rescue and taken to Brookwood hospital by his security detail, according to the report. 

April Odom with the mayor’s office released the following statement at 11:44 a.m.:

“The Mayor is currently recovering at a local area hospital. A formal police report has been initiated and will be ready for release in the next hour. From there, the magistrate will swear out a warrant for the arrest of Councilor Lundy. When approached by Birmingham Police, Councilor Lundy refused to give a statement. 

Will send more information as we have it.”

Around 12 p.m., Birmingham City Council President Johnathan Austin released a statement saying Councilor Lundy will press charges against Mayor Bell. He said Lundy had been taken to a hospital to be checked for injuries to his thigh and legs. 

“What occurred at City Hall today is a direct reflection of the lack of respect towards the Council and unwillingness to corporate which has been ongoing for some time now. We have worked continuously to move this city forward, and it’s a sad day when Council members are attacked while trying to do the job that they were elected to do,” Austin said.

In an interview with WBRC News, Austin said he’s spoken with Lundy since the fight happened and Lundy is in good spirits, but very disappointed that the council is having to deal with this.

“The council has been subject to this type of bullying tactics that the mayor and his staff have employed over the last several years,” Austin said. 

Austin added that the animosity between the mayor and the city council “absolutely…does not justify anyone resorting to violence.”

The council president said regardless of what happened on Tuesday, he wants to assure the community that “city council will continue to work together to make decisions and do what’s in the very best interest of our neighborhoods.”

Chief Roper said that it is unclear what charges will be filed in the incident as authorities work to find out what happened. There is a possibility they could face assault charges in connection to the incident.

“Regardless of the location, violence is never the answer,” Roper said. 

The city council meeting resumed after the altercation but wrapped up around 11:20 a.m.

After the meeting, Austin read a prepared statement to media and called the altercation “ridiculous.” 

“This incident that took place between the mayor and the councilor is very unfortunate,” he said. “But, this is indicative of a lack of respect and a lack of willingness to cooperate with the council on any issue,” 

Austin showed the media printed photos of Lundy’s injuries and told reporters that Lundy would file charges.

“I am committed to doing everything that we can as a community, as a council to move this city forward in spite of this senseless foolishness. I believe that we will move beyond this, I believe that we can do better and I look forward to working with the mayor and my colleagues to continue to fight on behalf of our neighborhoods and our citizens to move our city forward,” Austin said.

“We are better than that as a city. This is not a dictatorship, this is a democracy,” Austin said. 

It’s still unclear what the mayor and Lundy were fighting about. It may have stemmed from a budget and finance meeting held on Monday. 

April Odom confirmed that earlier this week, Councilman Lundy had to return a city car that he was driving. She said it’s against state law for a councilman to drive a city vehicle.

The issue was apparently brought up in a recent budget meeting and things got heated. But there is no word on if that issue is what started the argument that escalated into a physical fight on Tuesday.

Check back with this story for updates. 

Copyright 2015 WBRC. All rights reserved. 

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