School board candidate arrested

Swanagan

A candidate for the Richmond County Board of Education was arrested late Friday and remained in jail Sunday, accused of beating a woman with a belt in a domestic incident, police say.

James Swanagan Jr., 53, of Heph­zibah, was charged with misdemeanor simple battery, according to Richmond County jail records. Swanagan, who is running for the Super Dis­trict 9 seat, will be held at the Charles B. Webster Detention Center until his hearing Monday.

According to an incident report, a Richmond County sheriff’s deputy was conducting an area check in the 3700 block of Fairington Drive about 8 p.m. Friday when he noticed Swanagan holding a 29-year-old woman by her hair and beating her with a belt. Swanagan let go of her when the deputy stopped, the report said.

The woman told police that she had stopped by the house to pick up a 13-year-old boy. She said Swanagan shoved her to the ground when she wouldn’t exchange pleasantries and began beating her, according to the report.

Swanagan told police that the woman insulted his fiancée and that he began to reprimand her for using vulgar language toward him. He admitted to hitting her first, according to the report.

The boy told police that he asked Swan­agan to stop, but that Swan­agan told him to shut up, the report said.

Deputies noted welts on the woman’s upper left leg.

Monique Braswell, a candidate for the District 2 school board seat, said she had received several calls Saturday about the arrest. She said she has met Swanagan at several meet-and-greets and will continue to endorse him for the Super District 9 seat, where he faces incumbent Venus Cain.

“Until all the facts of the arrest come out, I’m going to support this guy,” she said.

Calls to Swanagan’s home Saturday and Sunday were unanswered.

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