Commissioner Roland at center of fight, censure battle - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Commissioner Roland at center of fight, censure battle

(WMC-TV) - The day after Jackson Baker from The Memphis Flyer captured video of a confrontation between two Shelby County Commissioners, a third commissioner has moved to censure a pair of his colleagues.

The video shows Commissioners Terry Roland and Chris Thomas arguing during a debate over redistricting during the Collierville Republican Club meeting Tuesday night. However, the argument escalated when Roland apparently threatened to hit Thomas.

Click here to read Baker's account of the story on The Memphis Flyer's website.

Collierville town leaders confirm officers were dispatched to La Hacienda restaurant just before eight o'clock Tuesday night when the incident happened, but no one has pressed any charges.

However, Commissioner Brent Taylor's request to censure two of his fellow commission members didn't come because of Tuesday night's heated argument.

During a meeting Wednesday, Taylor moved to censure Commissioners Roland and Mike Ritz. Taylor said the two men accused him of bribery during redistricting talks. However, Taylor said the county attorney found he did nothing wrong.

Taylor said the pair should be censured by the commission to stop their reckless comments.

The censure would have to be approved by the full Shelby County Commission.

During Wednesday's meeting, Roland said he thought Thomas referenced his dead father.

"Since then, I found out he didn't, and I'm sorry," Roland said.

Roland said four Republicans on the commission have been following him to redistricting speaking engagements.

"Folks, they have followed me around and heckled me everywhere I go," he said.

He then said commissioners were trying to set him up because he does not agree with them on redistricting.

"As you can tell on this phone here, before I spoke in Arlington, they were talking on Facebook about how to set me up," said Roland.

In the Facebook message, a user tells Thomas that Roland would be at a redistricting forum in Arlington.  Thomas said, "I'll be there."

Thomas had not comment on Tuesday night's argument, but did make one comment in commission.

"I just wanted to show up and hear what was being said and have a chance to give my side," said Thomas.  "They were public meetings."

Roland said he is sorry for the run in.

"I feel bad that I let my passion run wild," he said.  "I shouldn't have said what I said, but as you could tell, in that room, the tensions were high."

Roland added that he does not answer to commissioners.  He said he answers to his constituents.

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