Councilman, cameraman square off at Brantley meeting

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 14, 2005

Some heated words were exchanged at the Brantley Town Council meeting Monday evening between a new Brantley citizen and a town councilman.

Mike Smith, who works as an affiliate of WAKA and a stringer for CBS News, alleged that councilman Darryl Elliot had accused him of "being part of a conspiracy" against fellow councilman Lorey Bogen and he wanted an apology from Elliot.

According to Smith, he had witnessed Bogen being pursued and pulled over by a Crenshaw County Sheriff's deputy and had caught the incident on film one week ago.

Smith also said that Bogen had been previously stopped for driving with a revoked license five weeks prior.

"I was talking with the deputy at Lawhon's Too when we both saw Bogen come flying around the corner," Smith said. "I followed the deputy in my truck. I keep my camera in my truck because that's the business I've been in for over 15 years. I started taping but when Bogen produced a valid driver's license I was about to put my camera away because it was no longer a news story."

According to Smith, Bogen proceeded to cause a scene which is what he said prompted him to keep filming.

"I saw him get out of his car and then he yelled 'See how much power I have as a councilman?'" Smith said. "That's about the time that Councilman Elliot showed up and accused me of being part of some conspiracy."

Elliot responded by saying that he had simply come on the scene and asked what was going on and that Smith had made some antagonizing comments.

"When I first came on the scene I asked the police officer what was going on and he told me that he was writing a ticket for eluding and for a tag light being out," Elliot said. "I walked over to where you were with the camera and said 'This is BS. Why are they picking on this councilman?' and then you said 'he's just doing his job. Don't you want the officer to do his job?'"

According to Elliot, he was unaware that the deputy and Smith were friends until after he had a confrontation with Smith.

"It just seemed to me that Smith was being an intimidator by sticking that camera in his face," Elliot said. "As far as I'm concerned I don't owe Smith anything. He doesn't deserve anything from me because I didn't say anything out of the way to him."

At that point Smith got up and left the meeting. Elliot apologized to the people and the other members of the council for getting heated.

The council also conducted a few business items including setting Trick or Treat times for this year's Halloween.

Trick or Treaters in Brantley will be able to go door-to-door for candy on Monday, Oct. 31, from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

The council also approved the addition of three new speed bumps on Glenwood Road due to the recent increase of the speed limit.

Brantley Fire Chief Larry Driggers gave the annual firefighters report and told the council about some upcoming events that the fire department would be holding.

"We're going to be grilling out with our new grills on next Monday night at 6:30," Driggers said.

"We also set Dec. 10 as the day for this year's Front Porch Christmas. It is scheduled to start at 4 p.m."