Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Meeting Scuffle Turns Serious; BATTERY CHARGE A Brunswick Activist Is Arrested for Shoving Glynn's Republican Party Chairman. CHARGED ISSUE Wording of Straw Poll Questions on Whether to Move the Jail from Downtown Is at Root

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Meeting Scuffle Turns Serious; BATTERY CHARGE A Brunswick Activist Is Arrested for Shoving Glynn's Republican Party Chairman. CHARGED ISSUE Wording of Straw Poll Questions on Whether to Move the Jail from Downtown Is at Root

Article excerpt

Byline: TERESA STEPZINSKI

BRUNSWICK - A magistrate ordered Jeff Kilgore, director of Defend Downtown Brunswick, arrested on a simple battery charge Friday for shoving the 70-year-old chairman of Glynn County's Republican Party at a meeting two months ago.

Kilgore, 61, spent about 40 minutes being booked at the Glynn County Detention Center, which he vehemently opposes remaining downtown, before being released on his own recognizance.

County Magistrate Steven Morgan issued the arrest warrant for Kilgore at the end of a two-hour hearing in which GOP county chairman Wayne Stewart testified Kilgore attacked him without provocation at a June 7 meeting attended by elected officials and candidates.

Morgan let stand a good behavior restraining order that Stewart had obtained on June 10 as a result of the altercation. The restraining order, which forbids both Kilgore and Stewart from having any contact with each other, will expire in 30 days.

Saying he was giving him the benefit of the doubt, Morgan declined to issue an arrest warrant charging Kilgore with making terroristic threats against Stewart.

Kilgore admitted confronting Stewart but told Morgan that he reacted in self-defense when Stewart "walked into me."

Morgan rejected that explanation with a rebuke.

"I believe you went there to get into a confrontation. I believe you charged him, and I believe you put your hands on him," Morgan said.

Simple battery is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail or a fine up to $1,000.

About 20 people, including supporters of Stewart and Kilgore, attended the hearing to determine whether there was sufficient evidence for Kilgore to be charged with a crime. Testimony showed the confrontation resulted from an dispute that had been simmering since spring.

Kilgore, who doesn't belong to the party, wanted his wording adopted in non-binding straw poll questions asking July 20 Republican primary voters if they were willing to pay for relocating the jail out of downtown.

Stewart testified Kilgore came at him while waving a paper angrily as Stewart adjourned the June 7 meeting in a downtown church. …

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