10-07-2015 ASSAULT

City Commissioner Attacks News Reporter On Camera!

DOTHAN, AL UPDATE - 4:19 p.m. - Dothan Police have arrested City Commissioner Amos Newsome on a third degree assault charge, which is a misdemeanor. The arrest comes after Newsome physically assaulted WTVY reporter Ken Curtis after Tuesday's commission meeting.

Curtis pressed charges against Newsome on Tuesday afternoon, just hours after the incident. Newsome's bond has been set at $500.

Dothan City Commissioner Amos Newsome attacked WTVY senior reporter Ken Curtis following Tuesday's scheduled commission meeting.

Moments after the meeting ended, Curtis approached Newsome and asked him a series of questions about his possible resignation. After initially pushing Curtis' microphone, Newsome struck Curtis twice in the face.

WTVY has been questioning Newsome for weeks about his future plans with the commission. Pressure and public sentiment has built in recent months for Newsome to resign in the wake of several voter fraud convictions connected to his reelection in 2013.

Newsome defeated challenger Lamesa Danzey by 13 votes to retain his seat on the commission. Danzey received more votes at the polls, but Newsome overcame that deficit to win reelection by capturing 119 of 124 absentee ballots.

A subsequent investigation led to the arrest and eventual conviction of two people for felony voter fraud in connection with the absentee ballots, including Newsome's longtime girlfriend Olivia Reynolds. Another person has pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges and one more person faces three counts of absentee ballot fraud in connection with the case.

Newsome has repeatedly given no comment to WTVY's questions about his future with the commission. Curtis began to question Newsome about his future again, when the commissioner pushed him and eventually struck him.

WTVY Vice President and General Manager Spencer Bienvenu released the following statement:

"WTVY is extremely disappointed and horrified by the actions of Dothan City Commissioner Amos Newsome for his unwarranted physical attack on one of our employees. We understand that holding political office can be stressful, but that never warrants unwanted physical contact, let alone an open, public assault. Our employee was attacked in the course of doing their job, which they are entitled to do without the fear of physical violence. Freedom of the press is a guaranteed right, one that should allow us to do our jobs in a safe, non-threatening environment. WTVY intends to press charges against Commissioner Newsome, to ensure that no one else will be attacked in the course of doing their job. We’re grateful for the relationship that we continue to have with the Dothan City Commission and our elected officials."

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