On June 27th, Police Chief Lyle Grant and Varnell Police Lieutenant Greg Fowler responded tpo a 911 call from the wife of city councilman Sheldon Fowler. His wife reported that he was drunk, half naked and wouldn’t leave her daughters alone. When the police arrived, Fowler poked both officers in the chest. He was not arrested at the time but was arrested nine day later.
The city council placed Chief Grant on suspension for the way he handled the investigation, even though they also voted to urge Fowler to resign from the council. A few days later, the mayor who didn’t agree with Grant’s suspension, reinstated him. The council met later that day and voted to disband the entire police department. The city attorney pointed out that disbanding the police force was illegal since the council did not notify the public in advance as required by law.
Lieutenant Fowler and Councilman Fowler are not related.
The councilman’s wife, who was not named, had called 911 about her husband being drunk and loud inside the house. Upon their arrival, according to a police report, Shane Fowler yelled at Chief Grant and Lieutenant Fowler, and poked them in the chest.
Councilman Fowler was arrested about nine days later, on charges of simple battery, simple assault, and disorderly conduct. He made bond of $2,000, and his charges are pending in court.
Chief Grant said that he had reasons for the delayed arrest. He said that he wanted an independent investigator to review the incident, which were the officers’ statements according to the Times Free Press. He also said that he brought the evidence in front of the mayor and other Council members before he made the decision to charge Councilman Fowler.
In a June 28 city council meeting, Councilman Sheldon Fowler began by apologizing for his actions. Councilman Jan Pourquoi talked about the incident and the 911 call that Councilman Fowler’s wife made.
According to NewsChannel 9, he said that Fowler called his daughter, who has ‘disabilities’, a ‘f-ing retard’. He also said that Fowler’s wife told police that she has to lock his children up at night so that he doesn’t visit them. Councilman Pourquoi said that he had a relative with disabilities, and that this “hit home”.
He said that there was no excuse, whether Fowler was drunk or not drunk, for his actions. He also said that he had listened to the 911 call, and then made a motion for Fowler to voluntarily resign, which received an unanimous vote.