Amos Newsome, the City Commissioner of Dothan, Alabama found himself facing third-degree assault charges Tuesday after attacking WTVY reporter Ken Curtis following a commission meeting.
The altercation took place as Curtis approached the Commissioner to ask if he would be resigning in the wake of voter fraud convictions stemming from his 2013 reelection in which two were charged with felonies for tampering with absentee ballots leading the defeat of his rival candidate.
WTVY has been questioning Newsome for weeks about his future plans with the commission. Pressure and public sentiment has built in recent months for Newsome to resign in the wake of several voter fraud convictions connected to his reelection in 2013.
Newsome defeated challenger Lamesa Danzey by 13 votes to retain his seat on the commission. Danzey received more votes at the polls, but Newsome overcame that deficit to win reelection by capturing 119 of 124 absentee ballots.
A subsequent investigation led to the arrest and eventual conviction of two people for felony voter fraud in connection with the absentee ballots, including Newsomes longtime girlfriend Olivia Reynolds. Another person has pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges and one more person faces three counts of absentee ballot fraud in connection with the case.
As Curtis pressed on about the scandal, he quickly turned from the reporter to the headline.
Commissioner Newsome was arrested within hours of the incident and now faces a misdemeanor charge for the assault. According to WTVY, Curtis did not sustain serious injury during the assault. The outlet released the following statement on the matter:
WTVY is extremely disappointed and horrified by the actions of Dothan City Commissioner Amos Newsome for his unwarranted physical attack on one of our employees. We understand that holding political office can be stressful, but that never warrants unwanted physical contact, let alone an open, public assault. Our employee was attacked in the course of doing their job, which they are entitled to do without the fear of physical violence. Freedom of the press is a guaranteed right, one that should allow us to do our jobs in a safe, non-threatening environment. WTVY intends to press charges against Commissioner Newsome, to ensure that no one else will be attacked in the course of doing their job. Were grateful for the relationship that we continue to have with the Dothan City Commission and our elected officials.