Anniston mayor and councilman fight at council meeting

Anniston mayor and councilman fight at council meeting

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Councilman John Spain is out on bond after being charged with 3rd Degree Assault. Photo courtesy Anniston PD. Councilman John Spain is out on bond after being charged with 3rd Degree Assault. Photo courtesy Anniston PD.
ANNISTON, AL (WBRC) -

An Anniston city councilman is out of jail on bond after a fight with the city's mayor. It happened during Tuesday night's city council meeting.

Anniston Mayor Gene Robinson and Councilman John Spain excused themselves from the meeting and said they would be right back. Spain returned in police custody and Robinson went to a hospital after the two were in a physical altercation. 

It happened Tueday evening at a council meeting.

Anniston police officers went to see what was going while hearing a disturbance behind a closed door at City Hall. They found Spain's hands around Robinson's neck.

Police broke up the fight and arrested Councilman Spain and charged him with 3rd degree assault. But Spain claims Robinson hit him. So far, the mayor has not been arrested.

Spain has bonded out of jail. Mayor Robinson was taken to the hospital to have his shoulder checked out.

Before the fight, the council was actually getting some things done. They instructed the city manager to fix roof leaks in the police department and jail, approved plans for a fallen police officers' and firefighters' memorial and purchased i-pads for the council, mayor and city attorney.

Those iPads may have started the fight. Someone inside that meeting told reporter Dixon Hayes that Robinson voted against the iPads, saying the city did not need them. Spain reportedly made fun of Robinson for not being tech savvy.

Spain says he intends to file charges against Mayor Gene Robinson. His version of what happened is that the mayor initiated the physical fight, and he was just defending himself. He also repeated allegations he has made before that the mayor has threatened him several times before last night's meeting.

"I certainly feel that the mayor initiated this; you know the mayor has threatened me multiple times," said Spain. "The mayor has asked me out to fight multiple times. You know, tonight was just not the night to do it."

There is more insight into what appears to be a long running feud between Spain and Robinson by looking at the mayor's very active Facebook and Youtube pages. Robinson calls Spain and other council members out several times about their spending.  

On one post, Robinson says:

During these 2012 budget hearings, Little and Spain and Palmore are increasing their travel budget to $10,000 each....the proposed council travel raise is almost ...a slap in the face to the workers and citizens alike!

Mayor Robinson is expected today to give his side of the story to FOX6 News.

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