GBI asked to investigate conflict between LaGrange council members
Published 12:00 pm Thursday, September 14, 2023
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is looking into an alleged altercation between two LaGrange City Council members.
The altercation is believed to have occurred between Councilman Leon Childs and Councilman Nathan Gaskin during or after an executive session of the LaGrange City Council work session on Tuesday.
According to LaGrange Police Chief Garrett Fiveash, the undisclosed incident occurred around 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 12. Fiveash did not identify the councilmen by name but a social media post claimed Childs pulled a weapon on Gaskin during the meeting. Childs denied the accusation in a phone call with The LaGrange Daily News.
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Fiveash said the GBI will investigate to avoid the appearance of impropriety, favoritism and conflict of interest and to seek further details from the agency.
“The GBI is going to be handling the investigation, so there will be no conflict of interest because we actually answer to the city council,” Fiveash said.
Fiveash would not release any further details about the incident or even what the alleged criminal accusation was.
When asked about the incident Childs claimed that it was Gaskin that threatened him.
“Yesterday, we got into it in the meeting, the work session,” Childs said. “He’s telling lies talking about how I pulled a weapon out on him, but that is a total lie.”
Childs said he was going around the room thanking council members thanking them for their support on a proposed vinyl siding amendment and a solution that was found for restrooms at Moss & Wood Park. Childs said when he got to Gaskin, the councilman told him to get out his face and don’t speak to him.
Childs said the dispute continued and Gaskin threatened him.
Childs outlined the conversation to the LDN, where he alleged Gaskin of using a racial slur and threatening violence. For his part, Childs vehemently denied that he had pulled a firearm on Gaskin.
When asked about the incident, Gaskin said that he did not wish to comment on the situation as the incident is being investigated by the GBI.
Gaskin said to contact his personal attorney, whom he did not identify, or City Attorney Jeff Todd for further questions.
“I’ll be issuing a statement when it’s deemed necessary,” Gaskin said.
According to Childs, Mayor Willie Edmondson and other council members witnessed the incident.
Edmondson also stated he did not wish to comment, citing it is still an active independent investigation.
The mayor said it’s too early to say if either councilman violated any city ethics rules.
“It’s too early to say because we can’t say what’s going to happen. We don’t know exactly how the investigation is going to come out. So we’re just trying to wait on the following investigation,” Edmondson said.
“This has gotten me really distraught, but we have to go forward and do what we have to for the city,” Edmondson said.