Threat sends officials to court

Richmond County school board member Joe Scott is seeking an arrest warrant against colleague Venus Cain, alleging she threatened to beat him up during a closed board meeting last week. Both will face a magistrate judge this week.

"She, for no reason at all, threatened to do harm to me," Mr. Scott said Monday.

According to both officials, the altercation occurred when the board met behind closed doors Friday to interview two finalists for superintendent. Board members were hashing out the procedures for the interviews when the discussion turned heated between Mrs. Cain and Mr. Scott.

According to Mr. Scott, she told him, "My husband is 6 feet tall. If I can kick his A, I can kick your A."

On Monday, Mrs. Cain did not deny the threat but said she was speaking "nicely" to Mr. Scott when the conversation escalated and he started "screaming and hollering and cussing" at her.

"I just threatened to beat him up," she said.

The board was talking about the need to be fair to the finalists by writing down the questions to ensure they were worded the same way. Mr. Scott didn't want to write his questions down, feeling it would impede him in some way. "No one's going to silence me. I'm going to say what's right," he said. "They're not going to put a muzzle on me. I'm not a horse or a dog."

Mr. Scott filed for a warrant application, but a pre-arrest hearing will determine whether there is probable cause to move forward, said Richmond County Chief Magistrate Judge William D. Jennings III.

"I don't know if I've ever had a (pre-arrest) hearing involving two elected officials before," the judge of 20 years said Monday.

Last week's altercation is nothing new, Mrs. Cain said.

"We've been fighting with Joe in executive session," she said. "No one's seen what's happening."

Reach Greg Gelpi at (706) 828-3851 or greg.gelpi@augustachronicle.com.

WHAT'S NEXT:

A pre-arrest hearing will be held at 9 a.m. Friday to determine if there is cause to proceed with the warrant procedure.