ATLANTA - A skirmish caught on tape during a news conference about Georgia’s charter school amendment has prompted a criminal investigation.
Georgia PTA Lobbyist Sally Fitzgerald says she is the victim of battery and is pushing for charges to be filed.
“I got shoved from behind,” Fitzgerald told Channel 2’s Lori Geary. “Just shoved from behind, threw me off balance, of course, and I almost fell.”
Fitzgerald and State Sen. Emanuel Jones asked Capitol Police to pursue criminal charges against Andrew Lewis, the executive vice president of the Charter School Association.
Capitol Police told Geary if charges are filed it would likely be for simple battery, a misdemeanor. They are looking at a video on WSBTV.com recorded by a Channel 2 Action News photographer as evidence.
"Each time I review the tape, I become more and more disgusted in what I witness,” Jones said.
The amendment is on the ballot in November and asks voters if charter school applications should be approved by a new state commission instead of local school boards and the state Board of Education.
Members of Georgia’s Legislative Black Caucus told Geary that Lewis crossed the line.
"If he won't resign, then I'm calling on the Charter School Association to fire him," Jones said.
Lewis was not available for an interview but sent Geary a statement that said, "I was attempting to stand between a passionate parent and a lobbyist representing several special interest groups, both waiving signs at the Capitol. Obviously it caused the lobbyist to lose their balance, and for that I apologize. That doesn't change the fact that this story is about community activists and educrats who are trying to deny parents and children better educational options. Shame on them."
"I am not sure I will accept an apology," Fitzgerald said in response.
Capitol Police did not say how long it would take to wrap up their investigation.