A Statesville City Council member broke a knee and sprained a thumb during a heated argument with another council member during a closed meeting on Monday, Observer news partner WBTV reported.
Through his personal-injury lawyer, council member Jarrod Phifer claims he was injured during the altercation with council member Roy West, according to WBTV.
West told the station he was angry with Phifer and that they exchanged words, but he strongly denied any physical altercation took place, the station reported.
“He was sitting right across from me,” West told WBTV. “I told him that I didn’t appreciate what he had done. It was very poor judgment attacking me personally in the newspaper. We both rose, we had quick-thinking council members that grabbed us and restrained us. I never touched him, and we’ve got seven council members and a city attorney who saw it and will testify to that.”
In an opinion piece in the (Statesville) Record & Landmark on Saturday, Phifer referred to West as an “elderly, privileged, bitter, bigoted man who is comfortable with the status quo.”
In the column, Phifer was responding to criticism he received over the site of a proposed splash pad at the Bentley Community Center, WBTV reported. At a recent workshop, West had criticized the location, noting several incidents of violent crime in the area and a homeless shelter nearby.
Tuesday morning, a criminal summons taken out by private warrant was served on West for misdemeanor assault and battery and communicating threats, according to WBTV.
West said he hopes the issue will be resolved. He said he apologized to the council after the meeting.
Phifer’s attorney, Todd Hollis of Pittsburgh, Pa., said he and Phifer were “reaching out for an amicable resolution” to the matter.