Tussle at Authority meeting is main event

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Community activist Woody Merry sought a warrant against Augusta-Richmond County Coliseum Authority member William Fennoy after an altercation between the two at the James Brown Arena on Thursday.

Mr. Fennoy, who knocked Mr. Merry to the floor, said he will likewise seek a warrant against Mr. Merry, from whom he said he was defending himself.

A hearing will be held June 27 in Richmond County Magistrate Court to determine whether any arrest warrants should be issued.

According to a Chronicle reporter who witnessed the altercation, it began outside the conference room at the James Brown Arena just before the Coliseum Authority meeting was scheduled to start at 9 a.m.

Mr. Merry, the founder of CSRA Help and the Association for Fair Government, confronted Mr. Fennoy about his absence from Tuesday's authority meeting, which then-Chairman Keith Brown had canceled May 23. Authority Attorney Ed Enoch ruled Monday that Mr. Brown did not have the authority to cancel a regular monthly meeting, so five members showed up for the meeting and called for Mr. Brown's resignation. Mr. Brown resigned later that day.

On Thursday Mr. Merry accused Mr. Fennoy of obstructing the authority's business by not attending.

"You need to get out of my face," Mr. Fennoy said in response to Mr. Merry's accusations. He also called Mr. Merry a "redneck."

"I feel threatened. I will defend myself," Mr. Merry said more than once before shoving Mr. Fennoy with both hands.

Mr. Fennoy pushed back, and Mr. Merry fell to the floor. Mr. Fennoy then kicked at Mr. Merry, and other Coliseum Authority members intervened.

A Richmond County sheriff's deputy was called to the scene, and Coliseum Authority members voted for a three-minute recess to allow Mr. Fennoy to give a police report. Afterward, Mr. Merry said, he was asked to leave the building, and Mr. Fennoy returned to the meeting.

Although Mr. Merry said he did not intend to seek a warrant against Mr. Fennoy, he immediately went to the sheriff's department and filed for one. Mr. Fennoy did not seek a warrant Thursday.

Both men contended they were defending themselves.

"Woody questioned me on my way into the building about not attending some kind of meeting," Mr. Fennoy said. "We had a brief discussion. I went inside the building to attend the meeting. He followed me inside the building, got in my face. I asked him to get out of my face. He said, 'Don't touch me.' He continued to be in my face. He said he would defend himself. He threw a punch at me. I defended myself."

Before the meeting began, Mr. Merry made a statement to the Coliseum Authority members and the media.

"I apologize for my rudeness," he said. "I said I'd defend myself three times."

Richmond County sheriff's Maj. Ken Autry said that if a warrant is issued by the magistrate judge the charge would likely be simple battery.

Meanwhile, state Rep. Quincy Murphy, the chairman of the Richmond County legislative delegation, said he will ask his colleagues and Augusta commissioners to ask their appointees to resign so a new board can be appointed.

Lawmakers proposed bills to restructure the authority the past legislative session but couldn't agree on any of them.

When Thursday's meeting resumed, board members discussed rehiring former facilities director Julie Huggins. However, after several motions, a vote not to rehire her passed 6-5.

Mr. Brown also made a motion for the authority to pay all legal bills stemming from Ms. Huggins' lawsuit against member Willie Law and the board. But member Freddie Sanders noted that the lawsuit involved statements Mr. Law made outside the regular meeting, so no action was taken.

Reach Sylvia Cooper at (706) 823-3228 or sylvia.cooper@augustachronicle.com.

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Just My Opinion
4647
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Just My Opinion 05/30/08 - 04:48 am
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You know, folks, Hollywood

You know, folks, Hollywood couldn't write stuff this good! These people are all a bunch of clowns. Anyway, the way I honestly see it is that Woody Merry instigated this "fight", and he could've said what he wanted to from a reasonable distance. Once it started getting heated, he could've backed off. But in the heat of the moment, Fennoy just reacted, and he really could've done worse, but he didn't. Of course, William Fennoy should NEVER have called Merry a redneck. "Redneck" is an obvious racial slur, and we all know that it's only directed at whites. If Merry had called Fennoy a racial slur, which he could have, then the press would've painted Merry a racist! But, as it is, I'm quite sure Fennoy won't be called that because he is black. That's the old double-standard, isn't it? Anyway, they should sell tickets to these meetings! They'd sell more than that Blood, Sweat, and Tears concert that lost $50,000!

bone
23
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bone 05/30/08 - 05:11 am
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i've never considered the

i've never considered the epithet "redneck" to be race-specific, but i think you have a valid point, JMO: what if merry had referred to fennoy with a race-specific term? anyway, this is yet another example of why the coliseum authority needs to be disbanded.

NicoleKelly
7
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NicoleKelly 05/30/08 - 05:20 am
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They need to make this a main

They need to make this a main event. Maybe then they could sell some tickets and make some money at the James Brown Arena!!!!

LouLou
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LouLou 05/30/08 - 05:22 am
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JMO so true there, Augusta

JMO so true there, Augusta citizens WAKE UP, things will never get any better as long as these clowns are up there making a spectical of themselvs and the City of Augusta, which isn't hard to do. Until they are all are removed things will stay the same: Shamefull and Disgraceful. We wonder why children can't get along, here we have supposedly Professional Adults acting as spoiled rotten BRATS setting examples on stupidity, ignorance and selfishness. It never ceases to amaze one how and why they think they are untouchable.

edst4
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edst4 05/30/08 - 05:57 am
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I say lets bring a law suit

I say lets bring a law suit against the board for waste of tax payer money? These people (animals) need to be held accountable for there actions. Also does anybody know how the term of redneck came to be? From my understanding it came to term in the 40's or 50's that when a farmer was out in the field working in the sun, there necks would become red. The reason why I know that info somebody many years corrected me when i used that term in the wrong way.

RegWmsATL
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RegWmsATL 05/30/08 - 06:06 am
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The elected officials that

The elected officials that appoint these people are the ones the public should get rid of. They don't want independent thinking business people. They don't want people who are smart enough to think for themselves. Moreover, they don't want anyone who is smarter than they are...therefore you end up with a bunch of puppets, whose strings are pulled by the incompetents from the county commission and state delegation. On a very serious note, now that the law allows people to pack heat in more places, they had better get some mature adults on the board, or they could have some real fireworks over there.

edst4
0
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edst4 05/30/08 - 06:13 am
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What we need is for Billy

What we need is for Billy Morris to build a new civic center.

christian134
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christian134 05/30/08 - 06:20 am
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What if Mr. Merry had used a

What if Mr. Merry had used a race specific term directed at Fennoy you ask Just my Opinion?.....Well let's just say all the pertinent people, especially reverends, preachers, pastors, and priest's, would be down here in a split second yelling racism...Quite possible calling the jobs and or lives of the white man who has "raped" the black for hundreds of years and now must be made to pay....Over the top you say...I don't think so...

justputtin
1382
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justputtin 05/30/08 - 06:33 am
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Justmyopinion? You're not

Justmyopinion? You're not right on most of what you said. You are correct in everything you said!

owensjef2
0
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owensjef2 05/30/08 - 06:34 am
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I have seen Woody Merry

I have seen Woody Merry instigate these types of confrontations on many different occasions , so it doesn't surprise me that this happened. Folks you can't get in peoples faces and yell at them and expect them just to take it. How come when Woody was ask to step back he did not step back and protest from a distance. This was not a fight caused by a racial slur it was caused by the aggression of Woody Merry and we have all seen this before.

jamesmcintyre
0
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jamesmcintyre 05/30/08 - 06:47 am
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i wish he had knocked woody

i wish he had knocked woody merry out cold!

JimCox
7
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JimCox 05/30/08 - 06:55 am
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Quincy Murphy, Wayne Howard

Quincy Murphy, Wayne Howard and Gloria Frazier are all to blame for this situation. Each had an opportunity to sign on to legislation that Ed Tarver proposed last session, but all three chose to stick their heads in the sand and to not do the right thing. If any one of them would have signed on, the bill would have had the requisite number of local endorsers, would have passed out of committee, onto the floor and would have passed. All three were afraid of backlash from their constituents during an election year.

Jillian
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Jillian 05/30/08 - 07:00 am
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I don't think the law allows

I don't think the law allows physical assault as a legal defense if someone is saying words you don't like.

pantherluvcik
628
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pantherluvcik 05/30/08 - 07:08 am
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Redneck is not race specific,

Redneck is not race specific, it's action specific. To me it's like using the word ghetto to describe someone. White and black people can be ghetto. Redneck is a backwoods, country, and inbred citizen.

justus4
93
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justus4 05/30/08 - 07:15 am
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Racial slur confusion

Unpublished

Racial slur confusion explained. African-Americans & women are a "protected class" according to the Supreme Court, based on over two hundred yrs of inhumane treatment by mostly white men. The government is responsible for that special treatment and the ruling was designed to "make whole" a particular race. It was an obvious attempt by the court to short circuit any future monetary damages. Its worked so far to date. So its not a double standard-its the law! Rednecks are not legally protected.

pantherluvcik
628
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pantherluvcik 05/30/08 - 07:15 am
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Christian you have less

Christian you have less christian love than an atheist. You really should shut up and stop trying to rally the racists with your stupid posts. Redneck does not apply strictly to white people, idiot.

SandTiago
0
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SandTiago 05/30/08 - 07:16 am
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Fennoy was wrong but Woody

Fennoy was wrong but Woody seems like a "weenie" to me.

ThurstonHowell
0
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ThurstonHowell 05/30/08 - 07:17 am
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Thanks for clearing that up

Thanks for clearing that up panther

pantherluvcik
628
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pantherluvcik 05/30/08 - 07:19 am
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"I feel threatened. I will

"I feel threatened. I will defend myself," Mr. Merry said more than once before shoving Mr. Fennoy with both hands. "

"Mr. Fennoy pushed back, and Mr. Merry fell to the floor. Mr. Fennoy then kicked at Mr. Merry, and other Coliseum Authority members intervened. "

Clearly Merry pushed him first, he should have knocked him on his a@@!!!

halffull
0
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halffull 05/30/08 - 07:20 am
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J-10 Jeep you "almost" got

J-10 Jeep you "almost" got your facts right but as usual it is only half the story. Mr. Tarver's legislation was the "fourth" proposal to be presented. Howard's proposal was presented as a compromise bill between two previous bill's that nobody could get passed but could only get the signature of both senators after it had passed in the house. Taver's bill was presented within days before the session ended in a last ditch effort. It is not a time to lay blame on three legislators without blaming them all. Maybe we should talk about voting them out since they cannot work together when the opportunity presents itself.

shivas
2
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shivas 05/30/08 - 07:25 am
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Woody started a fight, got an

Woody started a fight, got an azz-whuppin, and now wants to call the police. I have lost all respect. If you're man enough to start a fight, then be man enough to take your azz-whuppin.

jackfruitpaper833
41
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jackfruitpaper833 05/30/08 - 07:37 am
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What was Woody doing there,

What was Woody doing there, and it seems he PUSHED him first, that would have been my Q to KNOCK HIS TEETH down his throat, throw him down and beat the living day lights out of him. I would have beat him for the old and the new. I know Woody has done stuff like this before, this time he put his hands on some one. If he wants to be that important why don't he run for office. Again, if it was me, he wouldn't have any teeth this AM, and he would probably be in the hospital.

owensjef2
0
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owensjef2 05/30/08 - 07:37 am
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Oh my neck, oh my neck and my

Oh my neck, oh my neck and my back. heheheheh,

426Hemi
0
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426Hemi 05/30/08 - 07:44 am
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"Some kind of meeting"

"Some kind of meeting" Doesn't Mr. Fennoy know what meeting, or has he been absent at so many he forgot which one? If a shoe-horn in your butt must prod you to attend these meetings, then you shouldn't be a member. Mr. Merry is a good instigator, and was not azz-whooped; he was pushed down, or maybe he took a dive for good measure and effect!

LMS2005
0
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LMS2005 05/30/08 - 07:45 am
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Both of these men were acting

Both of these men were acting like children. The coliseum authority is nothing but a joke (IMO).

426Hemi
0
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426Hemi 05/30/08 - 07:48 am
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Can I say "Jungle-Bunny"

Can I say "Jungle-Bunny" without repercussion? It's not race-specific either.

426Hemi
0
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426Hemi 05/30/08 - 07:50 am
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BTW, how many of you have

BTW, how many of you have stated you'd like to see Merry knock his "opponent" out cold? Just goes to show the atypical mind-set in a certain minority.

WHATDIDIDO
0
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WHATDIDIDO 05/30/08 - 07:53 am
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Panther, I am with you about

Panther, I am with you about christian. He does not miss a beat, on bring race into any situation. Now as far as this " Fight " is concerned, Fennoy should not have used the term " Redneck" for ANY reason. However, once woody pudhed him. it was clobbering time. SWAMSC, your way of thinking is why they should not allowed any and everyone, to carry guns.

mayhem1998
0
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mayhem1998 05/30/08 - 07:54 am
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This forum is the first time

This forum is the first time I ever heard the term "redneck" is not a race specific term. Is this another two-step? An the original meaning I ever heard was referring to a farmer!

mayhem1998
0
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mayhem1998 05/30/08 - 07:58 am
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I have to agree with panther,

I have to agree with panther, if someone gets in my face and will not move, I can assure you one of us will have a bad day and not be happy.

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