Birmingham, Ala. Mayor William Bell and Councilman Marcus Lundy were involved in a fistfight during a city council meeting on Tuesday morning.
Bell and Lundy were at odds over a city matter that turned personal, according to ABC News. While alone in a council chamber backroom, Lundy allegedly cursed at Bell as he tried to leave. Bell told police he attempted to exit three times, but was stopped when Lundy placed him in a chokehold.
Lundy claimed Bell was the one who started the fight.
The matter was allegedly linked to Lundy driving a city vehicle. He was then forced to return the car over laws prohibiting council members from driving multiple city vehicles. The councilman claims Bell was using the incident as an excuse to fire him.
ABC News reports:
A video of the council meeting captures sounds of a man repeatedly shouting “No!” from outside the council chamber before the presiding member calls for a recess.
Members scurry past double doors decorated with Christmas wreaths toward the noise as the gavel slams down, and a perplexed look crosses the face of a man who was making a presentation.
After the dust settled, Mayor William Bell and Councilman Marcus Lundy both had minor injuries. The council meeting ended early. A man dressed up as Santa Claus sat slouched in a chair outside council chambers afterward while police lingered in the hallway.
A Birmingham police spokesman told reporters a warrant had been issued for Lundy’s arrest. He is also facing a possible assault charge.
Reporters who were present at the meeting took to Twitter to release photos of Bell’s injuries.
Bell and Lundy were both taken to a local hospital. The mayor suffered from bruises on his left knee and neck. He also underwent a CT scan and MRI.
Council President Johnathan Austin told AL.com the altercation was an embarrassment to the council and is also emblematic of the problems his team has been facing.
“What occurred at City Hall today is a direct reflection of the lack towards the Council and unwillingness to cooperate,” Austin told AL.com. “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 Lundy is expected to press charges.