Dora City Council member arrested on harrassment charge
by Rachel Davis
Jun 13, 2013 | 3468 views | 0 0 comments | 90 90 recommendations | email to a friend | print
SUMITON — Dora City Council member George Sides Jr. turned himself in to Sumiton police on Wednesday following an alleged altercation on Monday with a member of the city’s fire department. He was charged with one count of disorderly conduct and one count of harassment.

The alleged incident occurred at the intersection of Hull Road and 78 Highway after the fire department responded to a wreck call at that intersection. The wreck was on the Sumiton side of the highway so Sumiton Police Department and Sumiton Fire and Rescue worked the wreck.

Sides said he was talking to a Dora police officer near the scene when the Dora firefighter approached and told him to leave. Sides said he left, but returned and engaged in a verbal altercation with the firefighter.

The firefighter filed a report with Sumiton police later that day and warrants were issued for harassment and disorderly conduct on Tuesday.

Sides was informed of the warrants and voluntarily turned himself in to the department Wednesday.

Sides said the ongoing political tensions in the city contributed to the escalation of the incident, “I allowed a young individual to provoke me to lose my cool,” Sides said. “But, this has been boiling for a while.”

Sides and the fire department have been split on several issues this term, including the appointment of Chris Edwards as fire chief and the pay rate for the chief’s position. Edwards was appointed as the permanent fire chief by Mayor Randy Stephens two weeks after the council voted to reappoint him on a temporary basis. The council then failed to agree on a pay rate, prompting outrage from the department. The situation was eventually resolved, but tensions have remained on both sides.

Sides said he was disappointed this happened, but commended the Sumiton Police Department for its handling of a potentially ugly situation. “I have complete respect for the Sumiton Police Department,” Sides said. “They handled it in a very professional manner.”

Sides was released on a bond of $50 for each charge and the $35 bond fee.

Both charges are Class C misdemeanors. The fine, if found guilty, is no more than $500 for each count.