West Memphis councilman charged with choking pregnant girlfriend

By Jason Miles - bio | email

WEST MEMPHIS, AR (WMC-TV) - West Memphis councilman Marco McClendon sat in a packed municipal courtroom for nearly two hours Wednesday before his case was heard.

"I'm going to set bond at $5,000," said the judge when McClendon was finally called.

But the councilman slipped out a back door without commenting to awaiting news crews.

"He's a coward," said West Memphis Police Chief Bob Paudert.

As usual, Paudert did not mince words.

"I dare he ever lift a hand toward a man," said Paudert.  "But it's easy to lift a hand to a pregnant woman who can't do anything," he added.

Police responded Tuesday night to McClendon's home on East Woodlawn.  That was where his pregnant girlfriend claimed the councilman choked her after she questioned him about seeing other women.

According to the police report, McClendon referred to himself as "the king of West Memphis" when the woman threatened to call police.

"The king was dethroned at 9:30 last night cause he was taken to jail," said Chief Paudert.

McClendon is among the council members who have publicly criticized West Memphis Police and the department's chief.

But Paudert said McClendon's own actions lead to his arrest.

"Our kids all over this community," said Paudert.  "Black and white," he added.  "Deserve better role models than a Marco McClendon," said Paudert.

"I don't know Mr. McClendon to be this caliber of man," said councilwoman Lorraine Robinson after court.  "I've known him for years," she added.

She felt confident the councilman would be cleared.

"I believe in his innocence," said Robinson.

McClendon's assault charges were upgraded to felonies once police learned his alleged victim was pregnant.

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