Video shows Walton County Sheriff in bar brawl - CBS46 News

Video shows Walton County Sheriff in bar brawl

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WALTON COUNTY, GA (CBS46) -

CBS46 obtained surveillance video on Wednesday showing Walton County Sheriff Joe Chapman involved in a bar fight in Florida last May.

It happened at Harry’s Bar in Carrabelle, just south of Tallahassee.

“Yeah that’s kind of disturbing,” Walton County resident Michelle Cunningham said.

Chapman was arrested and initially charged with battery. Our investigation found he never reported the incident to the Peace Officer Standards and Training Council within 15 days as required.

POST is now investigating.

Chapman has just recently responded to the incident by posting a statement to Facebook.

“At a bar and grill, a person tried to take my money that I had put on a pool table to play a game of pool. He directed some threats to me and left,” Chapman said in a statement.

One of the victims in the fight, Charles Gray, described the tense moments with CBS46 over the phone.

“Mr. Joseph Chapman hit me in the stomach, and he hit me in the rib cage on my side, and he tried to hit me with his left hand, but I blocked it with my right elbow trying to defend myself,” Gray said on the phone.

Walton County Major Kipling Mercer was also involved and arrested for battery.

“The person that I pushed said that if I paid him a $1,000, he wouldn't press charges. I refused and was charged with battery. This was later changed to disorderly conduct and then dismissed,” Chapman said in a statement.

Walton County residents had mixed emotions about the incident.

“I was like, 'Wow, that’s amazing.' It was never brought up only until now and it happened last year,” Cunningham said.

“Well it’s troubling, but I also know things get twisted around a lot and you have to make your own decision,” Walton County resident Shirley Harrison said.

The Georgia Sheriff’s Association has also requested that the Governor set up a panel to investigate the incident, but there has been no official word on what the Governor’s Office will do.

“I hate that this happened and I'm embarrassed that it happened. With that being said, I can't say that I would handled the situation any different,” Chapman said in a statement.

CBS46 has reached out to Chapman requesting a face to face interview, but so far he has not agreed to discuss the incident on camera.

We also contacted the State Attorney’s Office in Florida and learned that the charges were dismissed against Chapman and Mercer as of Wednesday because they completed a pre-trial diversion program for first offenders.  They will not be required to appear in court.

Sheriff Chapman has issued the following statement:

"Allow me to address an incident that happened over a year ago. After the the May election I went to Florida on vacation. At a bar and grill a person tried to take my money that I had put on a pool table to play a game of pool. He directed some threats to me and left. He later returned with another person he said was his brother. He again said he was going to take the money off the table and walked toward me. I pushed him away. He and the other person went outside and returned with a crowbar. The two threatened to beat and shoot me. I instinctively chased them outside. Local law enforcement was called. The person that I pushed said that if I paid him a 1000.00 he wouldn't press charges. I refused and was charged with battery. This was later changed to disorderly conduct and then dismissed. I hate that this happened and I'm embarrassed that it happened. With that being said I can't say that I would handled the situation any different. I would have brought this to your attention sooner, but I had to let the legal process take its course. I will continue to serve you to the best of my ability. Thank you."

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