Street Brawl at City Hall
An open letter from ME (A Citizen of Birmingham)
By Andre J. Thomas
December 16, 2015
Let me begin this commentary by saying that I really tried my best to stay away from the Bell – Lundy altercation that occurred at City Hall on yesterday. However, being one of the top bloggers in the City of Birmingham, my readers reminded me that I had a responsibility to talk about it.
If you didn’t hear about the story, let me take this moment to share what seemed to have happened (based on insider commentary and based on a police report submitted to Birmingham Police Department).
Yesterday, around 11:15 am, during a council meeting, commotion was heard in the back chambers; followed by someone yelling “No- No!” When staffers entered the room, they noticed Birmingham Mayor William Bell and Councilor Marcus Lundy (District 9) were in an altercation; with Lundy on top. What is supposed to be a respected institution was turned into a taping of Love & Hip Hop – Birmingham. Drama, Ratchetness, and MESS! Both men were taken to the hospital and treated for minor injuries.
Marcus Lundy sustained scratches to his leg during the altercation. He claims Bell started the altercation. From where? on the floor?
Later that day, Birmingham Public Relations Director, April Odom issued the following statement:
Birmingham President Johnathan Austin appears to show support of Lundy saying:
Sidebar – Are government officials legally able to use such tactics with public funds to influence decisions at a private bank? Someone close to the dealings alleges that it was a legal move. I know I’m not an attorney nor a politician, but something just doesn’t sound right in the water.
According to an alleged police report (see below), Lundy supposedly grabbed Mayor Bell and began choking him.
Insiders state the incident did in fact stem from an alleged conversation Mayor Bell had with Lundy’s boss. Click here to view Mayor Bell vs Lundy police report.
Before anyone knew the facts of what happened, social media went into a viral frenzy, posting some very humorous and provocative memes (see below) under the hashtag #BrawlinCityHall. A video commercial was even made about the event, as if it was a new reality television show.
Now that the temperature has cool down, I would like to share how I felt about this situation. I’m writing as a private citizen and not as an employee for the City of Birmingham or its’ affiliates.
Being that I’m a business owner and resident of the City of Birmingham, I must say that I was ashamed to see what transpired. Yes, I laughed at the memes, but inside I was disturbed. The truth of the matter is, this incident wasn’t about a lack of respect as Austin claims; it was about greed, pride, and corruption.
Throughout the day, I observed city officials issue a number of statements about the “what,” “who started it,” and “why.” As each of them fed into the mess, Birmingham was catapulted to the national spotlight.
One thing that I didn’t hear from anyone in leadership was an apology. Earning a healthy paycheck for being in leadership, yet you feel as if you have no accountability to the public?
What I think should happen?
Honestly, I think the public should demand an apology from both city leaders. Both leaders embarrassed the city on a national stage. We have a winning basketball team (Wenonah Lady Dragons) ranked #15 by MaxPrep and ranked #1 in the State of Alabama. Your actions will foreshadow them when they represent us nationally. You both should be ashamed and shouldn’t make any further statements until this matter has been resolved.
You boast about moving 50 years forward, but in a matter of minutes, you take our country several years back by acting like “niggahs” fighting in the hood.
City Hall is NOT your house; it belongs to the people of Birmingham. You are not allowed to disrespect our house this way!
Jonathan Austin claimed a few weeks ago that the city would rage a war on crime. HOW will you do this when you can’t stop the violence happening a foot away from you? No matter how many prayer walks and neighborhood block parties you have, until leadership gets’ off its pedestal and put the residents as its focus, we will remain stagnant.
Birmingham was ranked #5 on the FBI Top Crime list and you have time to bicker over personal business. You guys find time to argue over Uber, but have no response to the mother who lost her sixteen year old son recently on how you would prevent this from happening to another child. Instead of discussing crime strategies, you chose to fight???
The fact that none of these speakers felt the need to so much as apologize for the embarrassment they’ve caused us, sends the message that they have forgotten the reason they were given these assignments in the first place. Your job is to move Birmingham forward and to represent your districts. Nothing about this altercation says that it was about us, the citizens of Birmingham. You both allowed your personal difference to overshadow your thought process.
Both of these officials should be docked pay since they were unable to work as scheduled. Both should be temporarily suspended without pay under this investigation is complete. If it’s good enough for the regular citizens, it’s good enough for our public officials.
Lastly, the tax payers shouldn’t be responsible for paying either of their doctor bills since their injuries were sustained as a result of them handling personal matters on city time. If either of them want their doctor bills paid, they should sue each other in civil court, just as any other citizen would.
I believe the public is going to find out that this story is deeper than we expect. What we are witnessing is just the surface.
Andre J. Thomas is a 5x Award Winning Producer and Entertainment Blogger based out of Birmingham, Alabama. He can be heard every Saturday on the hit radio show, Joe Lockett Show. The Joe Lockett Show airs on 101.1 FM & 1260 AM (Metro Birmingham) every Saturday from 4pm to 7pm CST. You can also read articles written by Andre in The Birmingham Times, Black Moguls Magazine, Gumptown Magazine, and on andrejthomas.com.
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