Lagniappe broke a story last week about an investigation into an alleged altercation involving Mobile Municipal Judge Karlos Finley, but some witnesses have disputed certain details represented by the complainant, who more than a week later, has yet to file any charges with police.
According to an incident report obtained by Lagniappe, Finley was accused of pulling Howard Finley Glaude Jr. off his horse and striking him in the face after the the LeFlore Magnet High School alumni parade, Nov. 30.
Glaude claims the trouble with Finley started after a horse he was riding defecated near Finley and other attendees before the parade. At that time, Glaude said Finley used “some vulgarities” and tried unsuccessfully to pull him from the horse.
“Later, I was letting the kids pet the horse and take pictures, and he approached me and was able to pull me down. I hit the ground on my back,” Glaude said. “He did strike me one or two times, but I also struck him as well. I had been passive, but during the incident afterward, my aggressive side kind of came out.”
Finley told Lagniappe he didn’t feel it was appropriate to comment other than to “proclaim [his] complete and total innocence from any reported wrongdoing.” Since the story was initially reported, though, other witnesses have come forward with additional information about the altercation and the parade that day.
Phaedra Mitchell, a 1990 graduate of LeFlore, said she doesn’t know Finley or Glaude personally, but remembers seeing some type of confrontation between the two men after the parade.
According to her, Glaude’s horse was “trotting fast” through a crowded area, which she first noticed after it scared her granddaughter. She said Finley attempted to confront Glaude, and while both men seemed to be upset in the moment, she said they never actually made it close to enough to make physical contact.
“[Finley] said, ‘Man get that horse outta here, we got kids out here and you scaring them. The horse is [expletive] everywhere, and we got people with food,’” Mitchell recalled. “I didn’t hear what the guy said back to [Finley], but I did see that he turned around.”
A similar situation is described in the report before the parade, but Mitchell said what she saw occurred afterward, adding she stayed for “a couple of hours” and didn’t see Glaude or his horse again.
Brenda Gay, who is on the board of the LeFlore Alumni Association, told WKRG she didn’t see any of the alleged altercations, but did say there had been an incident involving Glaude earlier that day because he was allegedly riding his horse through a crowded area at a high rate of a speed.
Gay, who did not respond to a message from Lagniappe seeking input on this report, told WKRG she personally asked Glaude to leave the populated area and take his horse elsewhere. She went on to tell the reporter Glaude responded by pouring some type of liquid “on top of the horse’s head.”
This week, Glaude said he has seen the news reports and stands by his story.
Because the police report described the incident as “harassment (simple assault),” some news outlets reported Finley had been accused of assault — a debatable claim. Under state law, a defendant who “strikes, shoves, kicks or touches a person” can be charged with harassment instead of assault based on his/her intent and the level of harm they caused. Police have already confirmed no injuries occurred.
Any potential criminal charge against Finley would be a misdemeanor handled in Mobile Municipal Court, which means it would have to be initiated by Glaude. Witnesses to, or victims of, misdemeanors have to sign a warrant against the offender before a magistrate judge for any charges to move forward.
If victims can’t or don’t, police will release the suspect in most cases. When asked if he planned to press charges against Finley earlier this week, Glaude said he still wasn’t sure.
“I work two jobs, and the time I would have to go and swear out the warrant falls right in between both jobs,” Glaude said. “I’ve been contacted by several people wanting me to move forward with it, but I’ve also been contacted by people asking me to let it go. I’m not sure what I’m going to do.”
It’s worth noting two of the city’s three magistrates’ offices are open at least eight hours a day, Monday – Friday, while the third is open 24 hours a day at Mobile Metro Jail, six days a week, with the exception of Sundays.
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