Macon police have cited the 24-year-old son of Macon City Council President Miriam Paris with disorderly conduct following a Tuesday night confrontation with his mother’s colleague, Councilman James Timley.
Timley accused Paul Carswell, of Suwanee Place, of threatening him after he ruled Paris out of order during a committee meeting Monday. The incident between Timley and Carswell occurred during Tuesday’s full council meeting. Timley, who is the council’s president pro-tem, had walked out of the chamber during the meeting. He told The Telegraph that Carswell followed him to the council conference room, telling him that “if I raised my voice at his mother again, he’s going to get a piece of me.”
At that point, Timley summoned the officer on duty at the meeting. In the police report released Wednesday, the officer wrote that Timley asked him to arrest Carswell for threatening him. Timley told police that Carswell pointed his finger in his face and stated “If you ever shout at my mom again I’m gonna get at ya,” according to the report.
Timley and Carswell went to the lobby while the officer called his supervisors. In the lobby, Carswell walked near Timley and talked with him. The officer advised him to calm down, according to the report. At the meeting’s end, Paris went to the lobby and asked if she could leave with her son, but the officer said Carswell needed to stay until his supervisors arrived, the report stated.
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In an e-mail sent to Mayor Robert Reichert and Chief Administrative Officer Thomas Thomas on Tuesday night, Police Chief Mike Burns told them Lt. Danny Thigpin spoke with both Paris and Timley together.
“(He) told them the media will run wild with (the) story and it will be bad for them and the city,” Burns wrote. “They agreed but continued to have words and the lieutenant could not get them to resolve (the) complaint.”
Timley said today that he had wanted Carswell charged with making terroristic threats, but that was not possible because there was not a third party who witnessed the encounter. Timley said it was Carswell’s continued aggressive behavior after police arrived that led to the disorderly conduct citation.
Timley said he had no interest in getting Carswell in trouble, but that he needed to learn to not deal with people in such a manner.
“I just felt like he didn’t have the right to confront me ... especially when I had ruled his mother out of order,” Timley said. “It’s kind of elementary. You don’t solve problems by creating problems.”
Carswell was assigned an Oct. 18 court date, according to the report.
Paris, who did not respond to a message left for her Wednesday afternoon, briefly disputed Timley’s account of the incident Tuesday.
“He didn’t threaten him,” Paris said, declining then to discuss the matter further.
The underlying dispute between the two council members that led to the incident began Monday at a meeting of the Ordinances and Resolutions Committee, which Timley chairs. During that committee meeting, Paris complained to him that he was only allowing council members to speak if they agreed with his point of view.
Timley countered that Paris and others were speaking out of turn and disrupting the meeting.
A short time later, as discussion continued, Paris told Timley she “just needs to ask for a point of clarification.”
“You just need to get out of this room,” Timley told her. “You just need to excuse yourself. ... You’re not supposed to be talking, period.”
Wednesday, Timley said the dispute should not have unraveled the way it did.
“At some point,” he said, “parents should not get their kids involved in stuff like that.”
To contact writer Matt Barnwell, call 744-4251. To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398.