Councilman Johnny Sinclair said he is canceling Thursday’s meeting of the city’s redistricting committee, which he chairs. Coleman and Lewis are the only other voting members of the committee.
Marietta Police Chief Dan Flynn emailed Carter Brank, special agent in charge of the GBI’s Atlanta Regional Office, to request an investigation Friday afternoon.
“In accordance with our conversation yesterday morning, as Chief of the Marietta Police Department I am hereby requesting the GBI conduct an investigation into allegations initiated by Ms. Annette Paige Lewis against Anthony Coleman,” Flynn wrote in his email.
Flynn wrote that the Marietta Police Department’s contact for arranging an initial interview with Lewis was Marietta Police Major Mike Hathaway.
“We appreciate your cooperation in this matter and although the Marietta Police Department will not be conducting any investigation, we are happy to serve as a liaison and assist in any other way we can,” Flynn wrote.
GBI spokesman John Bankhead said there is no timeline regarding the investigation.
“It’s beyond our control,” Bankhead said. “There’s just too many variables.”
Bankhead said it was not unusual for a police chief or sheriff to request the GBI to investigate in “situations like this.”
Coleman and Lewis allegedly argued following the redistricting committee’s Sept. 22 meeting, at which Lewis presented a redistricting map with a majority black district outside Coleman’s district, along the southern border of the city. The city is required by the Federal Voting Rights Act to have a majority black district, which has been complicated by Marietta’s growing racial integration.
On their way to the parking lot from City Hall after that meeting, Coleman allegedly cursed at Lewis and grabbed her, leaving a bruise about the size of a tangerine between her shoulder and chest.
Coleman denies touching or cursing at Lewis, while Lewis said she wouldn’t discuss the matter while it’s under investigation.
The only witness, according to a source who asked to remain anonymous because they are not authorized to speak to the media on the matter, was Councilman Philip Goldstein, who told the Journal on Monday that “any comments I have at this point will be to the investigative officials.”
Sinclair said he canceled Thursday’s redistricting committee meeting because he doubted any progress on designing the new maps had been made since the last meeting.
“I was so sorry to hear about the allegations,” Sinclair said.