Arrest warrant withdrawn for Alabama city councilor who got in fight with mayor

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[December 17, 2015]  (Reuters) - An arrest warrant for a city councilor in Birmingham, Alabama, who was involved in a fight with the mayor that sent both men to the hospital was withdrawn on Wednesday, officials said.

The altercation between Mayor William Bell and Councilor Marcus Lundy, dubbed #brawlatcityhall on Twitter, took place in a back room during a City Council meeting on Tuesday in Alabama's most populous city, authorities said.

Police said an arrest warrant was issued for Lundy, who faced assault charges. But the council released a statement on Wednesday saying the warrant had been rescinded at the request of the mayor.

A statement from Lundy released by the council said he "regrets the negative impact this entire incident has had on the City." Bell said in a statement he was "concerned about the overall good of the city" and therefore withdrew his complaint.

 

Bell told police that Lundy grabbed him from behind and put him in a chokehold after closing a door to prevent the mayor from leaving, according to a Birmingham police report.

The council said late on Tuesday that Lundy maintained he had been "physically attacked" by the mayor.

A video from the council meeting captured the sound of someone shouting: "No, no, no" in the background, according to a recording sent to news outlets by the council.

The mayor was left with bruises on his neck and a swollen knee, the police report said.

The mayor's office issued a short statement on Twitter on Tuesday saying Bell had a CT scan and an MRI at a hospital.

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Lundy suffered what appeared to be bloody scratches to his leg, according to images released by the council, which said later he had a "deep, three-inch abrasion to his left thigh."

Details on what started the fight were not immediately available, but the two politicians have had a testy relationship, news website AL.com reported.

(Reporting by Curtis Skinner in San Francisco; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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