Ward 4 Councilman Pierre Beard spent a number of hours in jail Friday after being charged with misdemeanor home violence.
Beard turned himself in Friday afternoon to Columbus police, a day after he allegedly discharged a firearm throughout a dispute along with his spouse at their Byrnes Circle dwelling.
He appeared earlier than Municipal Choose Rhonda Hayes Ellis, who ordered him booked in jail and held there till 10 p.m., based on a metropolis press launch. He was launched on recognizance with orders to avoid the sufferer till a listening to will be held on the case’s deserves.
Police responded to a disturbance name Thursday night on the Byrnes Circle dwelling. Columbus Police Chief Fred Shelton instructed The Dispatch Friday morning that Beard fired a gun within the air and had left the scene earlier than officers arrived.
Shelton additionally mentioned at the moment he hadn’t been in direct contact with Beard however had solely talked to the councilman’s legal professional, Nicole Clinkscales. Additional, he indicated officers had seemed for Beard “three totally different locations” on Thursday evening and couldn’t discover him.
These claims battle with incident stories and police statements The Dispatch obtained on Saturday from a supply with direct data of the investigation. The paperwork embrace Beard’s spouse telling officers that Shelton had spoken with Beard on the telephone, in addition to a press release Officer Glenn Jenkins took from Beard in individual at a residence on twenty third Avenue North — an tackle listed on Beard’s driver’s license — shortly after the incident. Additionally included is a press release from Sgt. Roman Sones, a supervisor, expressing disagreement with how the case was being dealt with.
Beard, an unbiased, first took workplace after profitable a particular election in September 2019 to switch Fred Jackson, who had resigned. Beard received election to his first full time period in June. He didn’t return a name or message from The Dispatch by press time.
Based on the paperwork, Beard’s spouse instructed responding officers she and her husband started arguing after she raised suspicions he was having an affair.
She instructed him, “Get your stuff and get out,” and started taking Beard’s belongings exterior to his automotive. Beard took a few of his belongings again inside, however when he went exterior a second time, his spouse locked him out of the home.
Whereas Beard was exterior, his spouse instructed police he fired a gun, which he had in his pocket, into the air, then pointed it at her. The spouse instructed her daughter to name 911 as Beard continued making threats.
Beard’s spouse additionally claimed to police Beard known as Shelton, in addition to Ward 5 Councilman Stephen Jones, in the course of the incident. Jones instructed him to “hurry up and depart,” she claimed. After that, Beard left the scene.
Jones, talking with The Dispatch on Saturday, mentioned he did discuss to Beard in the course of the incident and instructed him to “get out of the scenario.” On the time, he believed Beard and his spouse had been merely arguing. He mentioned he didn’t know a gun was concerned nor would he ever have suggested Beard to run from the police.
“I had none of that info,” Jones mentioned.
In Beard’s assertion to Jenkins, he claimed the gun discharged by chance. He additionally mentioned his spouse was throwing his garments out of the home and locked him out. He reached round a damaged glass window to unlock the door, and his spouse started kicking his hand, inflicting the glass to chop his hand, he mentioned.
Jenkins reported the small print of the case to Sones, together with Shelton’s choice to have Beard’s spouse signal an affidavit in opposition to her husband moderately than have the officers arrest Beard.
In Sones’ assertion within the incident report, he writes that he confronted Shelton over that call, declaring “below different circumstances, the suspect would have been taken to jail for this incident.” Shelton instructed Sones there have been no shell casings recovered on the scene and no obvious bodily accidents to Beard’s spouse, despite the fact that Beard admitted to discharging a firearm.
Sones tried unsuccessfully to take witness statements from neighbors within the space. Shelton then known as and instructed Sones to have an officer put together an arrest affidavit for Beard. Later, Shelton known as Sones once more and mentioned Beard wouldn’t flip himself in and had contacted an legal professional. Sones instructed Shelton he would try to find Beard and had an officer submit the affidavit to municipal court docket.
Shelton has not responded to a number of calls from The Dispatch since Friday night.
Why municipal court docket?
As of Saturday night, Public Data Officer Joe Dillon mentioned CPD continues to be dealing with the Beard investigation, moderately than turning it over to Lowndes County Sheriff’s Workplace to keep away from a battle of curiosity. Beard’s seat on the council permits him to vote on hiring, firing, disciplinary and monetary issues regarding CPD.
The town council additionally appoints metropolis judges and funds municipal court docket, the place Beard’s preliminary listening to was held. Justice court docket handles misdemeanor circumstances introduced by the sheriff’s workplace.
Mayor Keith Gaskin declined to be interviewed in individual or by telephone for this report, however he did e mail a press release to The Dispatch.
“I’m within the strategy of reviewing the actions of each the Columbus Police Division and the Municipal Courtroom regarding the arrest of Ward 4 Councilman Pierre Beard,” it reads. “In a case like this, it’s crucial that an elected official is handled simply as an everyday citizen could be, no higher, no worse. Nonetheless, I’m additionally conscious we have to be cautious to keep away from any conflicts of curiosity, significantly between elected officers and metropolis workers, equivalent to Columbus Police Division personnel and Municipal Courtroom workers, over whom the Mayor and Metropolis Council have direct authority and duty, together with employment, wage, and disciplinary selections. I’m at the moment reviewing all insurance policies the town has which tackle the scenario, and I shall be working with the town legal professional to replace and enhance these insurance policies to keep away from any additional cases of conflicts of curiosity, whether or not actual or perceived.”
Metropolis Lawyer Jeff Turnage instructed The Dispatch he wasn’t conscious of any formal metropolis coverage for a way particularly to deal with prison circumstances involving metropolis officers — equivalent to permitting them to be dealt with by the sheriff’s workplace. On this case, he mentioned, it might need appeared too harmful for metropolis officers to attend on county officers moderately than responding instantly.
“You probably did have an emergency name with a sufferer alleging a firearm had been discharged,” Turnage mentioned.
Nonetheless, he mentioned he’s agreeable in working with Gaskin to draft a proper coverage.
Zack Plair is the managing editor for The Dispatch.