Friday, October 29, 2010

TOP STORY > > Two men are facing charges after fight

By joan mccoy

Leader staff writer

Two of the men involved in an altercation Monday night following the forum for mayoral candidates have been charged with the misdemeanor offense of disorderly conduct.

Former Cabot Alderman Odis Waymack, named as one of two victims on the incident report filed by police Monday night, and Jack McNally, a candidate for Lonoke County assessor, who is called the suspect on the report, both filed complaints against each other.

Waymack, 77, filed an affidavit for McNally’s arrest on Tuesday. The next day, McNally filed an affidavit for Waymack’s arrest.

Teresa L. Hughes, the district court judge in Beebe, signed both arrest warrants.

Sgt. Brent Lucas, spokesman for the Cabot Police Department, described the incident on Tuesday as a shoving match and said no charges would be filed unless those involved pursued it.

McNally, 53, turned himself in to Cabot police on Wednesday and Waymack turned himself in on Thursday. No fine was collected when the men were arrested. They were released on their own recognizance providing there is no further contact between the two. The maximum fine either will pay if convicted is $265.

H.L. Lang, the Lonoke County justice of the peace who was named as the second victim in the incident report Monday night, said Friday he wants to pursue felony charges against McNally.

Lang said in his statement to police that McNally hit him in the chest. Lang told The Leader the blow aggravated his hiatal hernia and now even turning over in bed or coughing is painful. A hiatal hernia is an anatomical abnormality in which part of the stomach protrudes through a hole in the diaphragm.

A state law allows felony charges to be filed against anyone who strikes and injures a person who is 60 years or older, Lonoke County Prosecutor Will Feland said Friday. But his office has not filed charges against McNally. The only charges are in Cabot District Court, Feland said.

Lang, 63, said the incident report filed Monday night was a little misleading. It implied that he intervened because McNally was verbally abusing Waymack. Lang said he knew there was a lot of animosity between the two men and he knew it was not likely to be resolved. But the forum was not the proper place for a confrontation, he said.

Waymack and McNally have been at odds for at least four years, ever since Waymack asked for a police investigation after he learned that two residents had complained that their property was removed from their yards and they blamed McNally, who was a city code-enforcement officer at the time.

McNally was the campaign manager for Stubby Stumbaugh during his successful campaign for mayor eight years ago. After Stumbaugh was elected, he hired McNally as a code-enforcement officer.

When Eddie Joe Williams took over as mayor in January 2007, McNally’s position was the first to be eliminated. Williams said he had to cut the budget to pay the city’s bills which were behind.

McNally admitted in his statement to police that he was verbally abusive to Waymack.

“I stopped to tell Odis Waymack, ‘You are a piece of dirt,’” McNally said. “Henry Lang told me not to talk to Odis that way. I told Henry to shut up and mind your own business.”

Lang said when he spoke up for Waymack, McNally asked, “Do you want some of this?” and punched him in the chest and then punched Waymack in the shoulder.

Waymack returned the blow, striking McNally in the chest, Lang said.

But McNally says he didn’t hit anyone. After calling Waymack “a piece of dirt” and telling Lang to “mind your own business,” he turned to leave and someone hit him in the head, he said.

Lang and McNally are members of the Lonoke County Republican Committee. Lang said McNally should have apologized for the incident. The economy is bad and confidence in the government is low and such behavior only makes people more disheartened, he said.

“This bullying and harassing is no way to conduct a government,” Lang said. “It’s time for strong leaders with ethics and integrity to step forward. It’s time for the cream to rise to the top and save our government.”