Councilman gets probation on assault charge
by Jon Gillooly
June 07, 2012 12:53 AM | 2708 views | 15 15 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MARIETTA — Marietta City Councilman Anthony Coleman pleaded guilty Wednesday to a charge of assaulting Councilwoman Annette Lewis.

Coleman received a sentence of 12 months’ probation, 80 hours of community service, a required anger and violence evaluation and a $600 fine, in addition to court costs.

Coleman waived his right to a jury trial and agreed to the plea bargain his lawyers made with assistant solicitor general Annamarie Baltz.

Baltz said the plea bargain called for Coleman to admit guilt to one count of simple assault for unlawfully engaging in an act “which placed Annette Lewis in reasonable apprehension of receiving a violent injury,” which was to “point his finger in her face and push her hand away from in front of her face.”

Cobb State Judge Irma Glover asked Coleman how he wished to plead.

“Guilty,” said Coleman, dressed in a navy blue suit and flanked by his two lawyers, Marietta attorney Tom Browning and Browning’s son, Tyler Browning.

Coleman, who said little else during the sentencing, declined to comment afterward.

The only person in the audience besides the Journal was Coleman’s mother, Juanita Carmichael.

Tom Browning said a trial would have disrupted the Marietta city government.

“City Hall would be a complete wreck if there was a trial,” he said. “They got 40 witnesses — some of them are city councilmen, the Mayor, Bill Bruton, they interviewed the paper, they interviewed everybody that was at that meeting, a bunch of city employees, this would (wreak) havoc on what I think is a well-functioning city.

“City Hall works great. They have little disputes here and there, but this would just tear it apart. I think it’s better for all, it’s better for Anthony, better for Annette, better for the councilmen, better for the city. Everybody’s working together, their working relationship is good, and a trial I think would irreparably change all that.”

Tom Browning pointed out that assault is placing someone in fear of receiving an injury, whereas battery is the actual act of injuring someone.

Judge Glover granted Coleman first offender status, which means Coleman wouldn’t have a criminal record after he serves his probation, Tom Browning said.

Tyler Browning said Coleman has been seeing a therapist in anticipation of the possible requirement for anger management.

“It’s up to the probation office whether or not they accept that as part of what is required in this plea or if they require him to do something else,” he said.

When contacted Wednesday evening, Mayor Steve Tumlin said he knows nothing in the law that would restrict Coleman’s role as a city councilman while under probation.

“I hope this closes the matter,” Tumlin said. “I believe in the process and Mr. Coleman had to go through the process, and it sounds like it’s been resolved with the proper consequences weighed and assessed by the court. I’m glad there is closure to this, because it affected each and every one of us on the City Council. We don’t like to see tension of anybody involved in this incident, and we’re delighted it’s reached a resolution.”

Tumlin said he was also pleased that the incident, however unpleasant, was not “swept under the rug.”

“I think you’ll see the redistricting process go forward,” Tumlin said. “I think everybody on Council will respect the decision Mr. Coleman chose to make in working with the court and put this behind us and move forward.”

Coleman was arrested on Dec. 2 on simple battery and assault charges stemming from an incident with Lewis on Sept. 22.

On Sept. 22, Coleman and Lewis allegedly argued after the city redistricting committee, at which Lewis presented a redistricting map that created a federally required majority-black ward on the southern edge of town, away from both Coleman’s north-central Ward 5 and his home, which could cost Coleman his seat on the Council.

While walking to the parking lot from City Hall after that night’s meeting, Coleman allegedly cursed at Lewis and placed his hands on her, leaving a bruise on her shoulder, which she later photographed and handed over to investigators.

The matter brought the city’s redistricting work to a halt.

Lewis could not be reached for comment.
Comments
(15)
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Resign!
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June 08, 2012
coleman needs to resign, asap. He's an embarrassment to the city.
Apology?
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June 08, 2012
Who is going to be the first person to demand Anthony Coleman apologize in public ? Not only did he assault her, he then had the audacity to call her a liar in the only MDJ article regarding this incident. “She’s trying to make some false accusations,” he said as reported by the MDJ.

He needs to be held to account in explaining what the MDJ quoted him as saying regarding this incident and what he pleaded guilty to. He should not be allowed to “spin” that he pleaded to save everyone from a trial. He pleaded to save himself from being found guilty on the battery charges. He has some explaining to do. He should be questioned at every public event until he comes clean about what he did. It is the responsibility of every citizen of Marietta to say loud and clear at public events that his behavior will not be accepted. He must APOLOGIZE!

Larietta
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June 08, 2012
Mr. Coleman, a large majority of your constituency are very disappointed in your actions and want you to resign your Council seat immediately and you should consider giving up your “Reverend” title as well. How dare you call yourself a man who leads others in their faith with this kind of CONTINUED behavior.

You unfortunately do not have the decency to do either, which would be the action of a gentleman and show you to truly be a man of good moral character and a man of God.

It's official. We Ward 7 constituents are represented by a convicted criminal.

leaving Marietta
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June 08, 2012
'Evil will prevail when good men do nothing'?

Shame Squad
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June 07, 2012
Coleman has proven himself to be just another angry black man with anger issues who picks on women. I can guarantee that if he had done this to a man, he'd still be picking himself up from the floor!
MAY-RETTA SURVIVOR
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June 07, 2012
This is NOT, repeat NOT, Coleman's first assault charge! And, while he may think that the issue is closed, he may never again walk our streets with his "uppity" attitude. Thanks to the MDJ for letting us all know just what kind of a person he truly is!
RevColeman
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June 08, 2012
The white supervisor he attacked years ago did not press charges...
A Taxpayer
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June 07, 2012
If Georgia judges/justices can only stay on the bench as long as they maintain "good behavior," then why is it that Marietta councilmen can physically attack other people and still sit on the city council?
Larietta
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June 08, 2012
"Good Behavior" is a subjective term. Unfortunately our goverment officials live by a different ethics code than the majority of decent people. Mr. Coleman thinks he did nothing wrong except get caught.
How can
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June 07, 2012
Judge Glover grant "first offender status" This isn’t Coleman’s first assault charge, he was terminated from Cobb County for the same thing – was that expunged?
get real
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June 07, 2012
I would agree with Tumlin on letting Coleman stay on the council having served his time IF the incident had not a) occurred as the result of a City Council Function and b) had the victim not been another fellow councilwoman. To think for one minute that this offers "closure" is naive at best. I'm sure Ms. Lewis (or any other member of the council or committees) will feel completely free to voice their differing opinions from Anthony knowing that he is fully capaple of assault. And let's be honest, plea bargain aside, battery as well. Yes, I'm sure they will have no qualms disagreeing with him at all. Yeah, right...
Marietta Youngster
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June 07, 2012
So we now have a councilman placed under probation and there is nothing in the by-laws that says he has to remove himself from his post. I can't be the only one reading that. He should be thrown off the city council and should wear a reflective vest picking up trash in his former ward.
old marietta
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June 07, 2012
Ok. His lawyer offers the definition of assault as being "placing someone in fear of being injured". He pleads guilty to making his victim feel in fear of being injured.

Yet. She takes a picture of a bruise that she said was the result of him putting his hand on her. Which would be battery.

Did his lawyer explain the different definitions of assault and battery to the judge before she accepted his plea.

Sounds to me like the judge was confused as well.

And the mayor is happy it didnt get swept under the rug.

You got to be kidding.
Hobnail Boot
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June 07, 2012
Putting aside the irony of a poster who calls himself "old marietta" belittling a Glover, I can assure you that Irma Glover is one of the finest jurists we have in this fair county and she darn well knows the difference between assault and battery. Plea bargains are a part of life in criminal court, and when the prosecutor has doubts about its ability to prove an actual battery - there were no eye witnesses to testify that Coleman caused the bruise - then it is entirely appropriate to accept a plea on a lesser charge. Sounds to me like some old mariettans don't quite understand the concepts of burden of proof and negotiated plea bargains.
confused as well
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June 08, 2012
Regarding your statement that there were no eye witnesses, the article quotes the attorney as saying there were as many as 40 witnesses including the mayor.

Did he or did he not physically harm her (battery by his attorney's definition) is the question.

Maybe it's not so much that some old folks dont quite understand the concepts of negotiated plea bargains, maybe it's more a case of some old folks questioning if striking a deal has become more important than finding out the Truth.

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