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Mayor apologizes for 2006 incident

Friday, March 7, 2008 by Austin Monitor

Austin Mayor Will Wynn met with reporters at City Hall before Thursday’s Council meeting to speak publicly about the 2006 incident that resulted in the Class C misdemeanor assault charge against him. The Mayor issued a public apology for his treatment of another guest at a party at his condominium complex, who called police after the Mayor escorted him off of the property.


Luke Johnson, who was visiting Austin from Virginia, told a 9-1-1 operator that “I was just choked by the Mayor of Austin…and I’m really scared about reporting it, because I don’t know how powerful he is in this town. I just want to talk to a detective, or something like that.”


Wynn on Thursday declined to go into the specifics of the incident, but did say he regretted his actions that evening. “This is embarrassing. Two years ago, I let a stranger push my buttons, and I really lost my cool. I wish the incident had never occurred,” he said. “Legally, the minute I touched Mr. Johnson, I crossed the line. I’m pleading ‘no contest’ to the charge and am working to get this behind me.”


The Mayor also offered his apologies to his city co-workers and the people of Austin. “The fact is that public officials are held to a higher standard, and we should be,” he said. “The behavior was no what I try to model.”


The judge handling the case has said the charge will be dismissed if the Mayor performs community service or sees a counselor. “After eight years on the dais, I certainly know a lot of needs out in the community and see a bunch of great partners trying to meet those needs. At the same time, I’ve always valued counseling,” the Mayor said. “I’ve been in counseling since even before this incident. It helps me, and I suspect I’ll continue counseling in different forms. It’s a general counseling, and anger can be one of the topics.”


While he regrets his actions in the case, the Mayor said Thursday he does not think issues with anger management affect his ability to be effective in his capacity as an elected official. “If I did, I’d quit the job,” he said. “I certainly don’t think this issue in any way keeps me from doing the job I was elected to do, so I plan to continue to do that.”

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