Birmingham Mayor William Bell and City Councilman Marcus Lundy got into a dustup in the mayor’s office during a City Council meeting Tuesday morning, according to the city police department.
AL.com first reported that the incident may have been over a consultant with a pending contract with the city.
Police Chief A.C. Roper responded to the scene at City Hall, where paramedics tended Bell, who came away with a swollen neck. Both Bell and Lundy were subsequently taken to the hospital.
Originally reports indicated Lundy grabbed Bell to stop the mayor from leaving a back room where the two had been discussing the consultant. Council President Johnathan Austin, however, implied Tuesday afternoon that it was Bell who assaulted Lundy.
Bell was said to have contacted Regions, Lundy’s employer, to say the councilman ought to be fired, but Bell disputed that account.
Both men were escorted to the hospital by police Tuesday morning, Roper said.
“Violence is never the answer regardless of the location,” Roper said. “It’s extremely concerning, not just for me, but for our entire city so we’ll conduct a thorough investigation and try to get to the bottom of exactly what happened and what precipitated this incident.”
Birmingham police said they are considering pressing charges against one or both men. Council President Austin said Lundy will press charges against Bell, but wouldn’t say who he thought began the fight.
A photo provided by Austin, seen below, shows blood and scratches on the back of Lundy’s leg. It’s unclear at this time just how Lundy received the injuries.
“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 Tuesday afternoon.
Bell received CT and MRI scans at a Birmingham hospital.
The city’s official Twitter account Tuesday evening read simply, “Thank you for all the thoughts and prayers.”
For more on the developing story, see Police report blames Marcus Lundy for starting fight with William Bell; charges pending.
Hear audio footage of the dustup here.