Judge recalls warrant for Birmingham councilor's arrest at mayor's request
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - The warrant for Birmingham City Councilor Marcus Lundy's arrest has been withdrawn at the request of Mayor William Bell, according to the city council and an order from the Municipal Court of Birmingham.
"Having been informed by the complainant that he desires the warrant to be withdrawn, it is hereby removed from active status immediately," the order states. A municipal judge signed the order on Dec. 16.
The mayor decided to do this for the "good of the city," April Odom with the mayor's office said.
"We are concerned about the overall good of the city and keeping up the positive momentum that we have seen over the past several years. With that in mind, I have withdrawn my complaint," Bell said in a statement Odom emailed.
Defense attorney John Lentine, who was representing Lundy, also confirmed that the warrant for Lundy's arrest has been removed from active status.
The Birmingham City Council released the following statement around 6:30 p.m.:
The arrest warrant issued for Councilor Marcus Lundy has been rescinded by Municipal Court of Birmingham at the request of Mayor William A. Bell, Sr., according to Councilor Lundy's attorney John Lentine. Councilor Lundy regrets the negative impact this entire incident has had on the City and looks forward to getting back to doing the work he was elected to do. Councilor Lundy sincerely appreciates the many prayers and thoughtful calls he and his family have received during this very difficult time.
Lundy was charged with third degree assault after he and Mayor William Bell got into a fight at City Hall on Tuesday morning.
Bell and Lundy got into a physical altercation in council chambers and outside of public view just before 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 15.
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.
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 were released from the hospital on Tuesday.
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.
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 said Lundy would be charged with third degree assault.
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.
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."
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.
Editor's note: A previous version of this story reported that Lundy turned himself in to authorities on Wednesday morning. Previous sources told WBRC that Lundy was at the Birmingham City Jail to turn himself in, but our sources turned out to be incorrect. Birmingham Mayor Bell's office confirmed the Lundy had not turned himself in. We regret this error in our initial report.
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