South Carolina Lawmaker Arrested for Assault and Battery of a Female Lawmaker
By John Monk
A S.C. House representative under investigation for allegedly assaulting a female lawmaker has been arrested, the Richland County Solicitor's Office said Thursday.
State Rep. Jerry Govan, D-Orangeburg, is charged with assault and battery in the third degree, according to county jail records.
Govan turned himself into the the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center at about 8:30 a.m. Thursday, according to the Richland County Sheriff's Department. He will go before a judge for a bond hearing at 2 p.m.
The May 11 incident between state Reps. Gilda Cobb-Hunter, 64, and Govan, 59 -- both Orangeburg Democrats -- originally was investigated by the office of House Speaker Jay Lucas, R-Darlington.
Lucas took no action.
Cobb-Hunter, 64, later hired an attorney to investigate the matter. She filed a formal complaint in September with the Richland County Sheriff's Department.
"I really appreciate Sheriff Lott's willingness to investigate my complaint since my efforts to get it done through State House channels were unsuccessful," she said in a statement last week.
The alleged assault reportedly rook place just off the State House floor in a hallway used by lawmakers but not the public or media. The two previously had argued over a bill about consolidating Orangeburg County school districts.
Several people saw part or all the incident take place, but there were no security cameras.
Cobb-Hunter told reporters Govan grabbed her wrist, twisted her arm and pushed her. The lawmaker walked around with an ice pack for much of the day.
Speaker Lucas hired a private law firm to investigate the matter. He later told reporters the investigation could not determine who initiated the incident.
In a letter to both lawmakers, Lucas encouraged them to keep their disagreements civil and professional in the future.
"(N)either I nor the South Carolina House of Representatives has any tolerance for unwanted physical contact by or with members or staff," he said.
(c)2017 The State (Columbia, S.C.)