Mayor DuPree comments on altercation with Hattiesburg blogger

Mayor DuPree comments on altercation with Hattiesburg blogger

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Mayor Johnny DuPree is speaking out about an altercation in downtown Hattiesburg Friday morning.

Video posted online showed the exchange between Mayor DuPree and blogger Tom Garmon.

The incident happened outside the newly renovated municipal court after a preview tour of the building.  In the video, Mayor DuPree grabs Garmon's phone during an argument.

The video also shows Garmon grabbing the hand of the mayor's assistant as she tries to stop him from recording.

"For 29 years I have prided myself on self control, having self control of a situation, today I didn't have self control. I know there is a right way and a wrong way to respond to situations. Today this situation I should have walked away so many times in this situation, for that I apologize," Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree said.

A Hattiesburg police officer was passing by and flagged down by the mayor. That officer took a report, but no charges have been filed by anyone involved.

"I apologize to the citizens of Hattiesburg, and even more important than that… I apologize to the children. There are children out there that look up to Johnny DuPree, what they call me. I apologize to them. There's a right way and a wrong way, and today I let them down. I acted in a way that was the wrong way, and I apologize. I hope they forgive me, I hope the citizens of Hattiesburg forgive me, and I hope that they will allow me the opportunity to go back to be what I've always been for 29 years. Today, I'm not proud of myself; I hope they forgive me as I try to forgive myself," DuPree said.

Late Friday afternoon, Garmon issued comments in regards to the mayor's public relations assistant.

"After the mayor refused to answer my two questions, he attempted to snatch the camera out of my hand. At that time, his press secretary accosted me and so attempted to touch my camera," Garmon said. "I made every attempt to protect my person and my property. Mrs. Hughes made repeated attempts to reach for my camera, pushing it back and invading my personal space."