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Brawl Ends Birmingham City Council Meeting

The Birmingham, Ala., City Hall in October, 2013.
The Birmingham, Ala., City Hall in October, 2013.

Police in Birmingham, Alabama are investigating a fight that broke out during a city council meeting Tuesday.

A routine meeting whose agenda included installing new fire hydrants and authorizing routine contracts erupted in fisticuffs between Birmingham Mayor William Bell and council member Marcus Lundy. Each has accused the other of assault.

Birmingham police chief A.C. Roper said it's not clear who might be charged until an investigation is complete and added, "violence is never the answer regardless of the location."

Witnesses report Mayor Bell and councilman Lundy had stepped into a back room, alone, during the city council meeting to discuss a consultant when shouting was heard.

AL.COM reporter Jeremy Gray was at the meeting and reported:

"The discussion became heated and the mayor tried to leave. No one else was in the room. At some point, Lundy put his hands around the mayor's neck and tried to pull him back, squeezing and leaving marks."

Both men went to a hospital for treatment of injuries.

The altercation is the latest escalation of a contentious relationship between the mayor and the Birmingham city council and it continued to play out in statements released after the fight.

City spokeswoman April Odom released this statement:

"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."

Lundy will press charges against Mayor Bell, according to Birmingham City Council President Johnathan Austin.

"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," said Austin in a statement.

"It's a sad day when Council members are attacked while trying to do the job that they were elected to do," he said.

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