Oxford official tied to altercation

Oxford official tied to altercation

Wednesday, October 8, 2008 3:46 PM EDT

By KAREN WORKMAN
Of The Oakland Press

Oxford Village Councilman Michael Hamilton may again be tied to a disorderly conduct incident after a heated argument in downtown Oxford on Saturday.

"The conduct of both individuals was certainly not appropriate in a downtown district such as Oxford - it brought attention to them from screaming, yelling and fighting," said Oxford Village Police Chief Michael Neymanowski.

About 9:30 p.m. Saturday, a village police officer responded to an altercation in the downtown strip's southwest parking lot behind Jon Marx Steak and Seafood, an upscale restaurant that opened recently.

"The valet person there called 911 because two gentleman were in a fight out in the parking lot," Neymanowski said.

Employees from Jon Marx said no altercation took place inside the restaurant.

"When the officer arrived, he found one (person) involved was Councilman Mike Hamilton, who was in an altercation with a family member, his brother," Neymanowski said. "When the officer pulled up, one was walking away from the other one, so he didn't actually see the fight."

The incident is still under investigation and there is information that a physical altercation did take place, Neymanowski said.

Though he declined to name Hamilton's brother, Neymanowski described him as a 32-year-old male.

"Mr. (Michael) Hamilton, right now, is probably more the victim in this case," Neymanowski said. Alcohol appears to have played a role in the altercation.

"Some adult beverages were consumed," Neymanowski said. "And my officer, who is very experienced, wrote in the report that Councilman Hamilton appeared intoxicated."

No charges have been filed yet against either party.

"As of right now, we're further investigating the assault. There could possibly be some charges of disorderly conduct," Neymanowski said.

In March, Hamilton, 35, received a disorderly conduct misdemeanor citation for an altercation that took place in February at The Oxford Tap Room, a bar located across the street from Jon Marx.

A wager on a dart game led to a fight between Hamilton and Stephen Watkins, a bar patron. The fight was broken up by bartenders and patrons and both men were thrown out of the bar. Hamilton then called police.

After an investigation, police issued citations to both Hamilton and Watkins. The bar also banned Hamilton from returning.

Both parties pleaded not guilty to charges of disorderly conduct, said Allen Wolf, the attorney who represented Hamilton in the previous case.

"The case was dismissed. There was a potential conflict of interest with the village prosecutor handling the matter and they rescued themselves," Wolf said.

He added, "The parties did not want to pursue charges against each other so nothing further happened."

Saturday's incident is likely to follow the same course if citations are issued, Allen said.

"If Mike Hamilton receives a ticket, it would appear there would be the same potential conflict of interest or appearance of conflict that the village prosecutor would have to consider," Allen said.

Hamilton did not return calls seeking comment.