61-year-old arrested for alleged assault on council CEO
TENSIONS boiled over at the Southern Downs Regional Council yesterday when a 61-year-old man allegedly assaulted Chief Executive Officer David Keenan.
Inspector David Preston was attending an unrelated meeting with senior council management when a ruckus began in the foyer, according to Warwick senior sergeant Jamie Deacon.
As Insp Preston and Mr Keenan exited the building they were allegedly confronted by the Killarney man.
Sgt Deacon claimed the "agitated" man blew off Insp Preston's attempts to de-escalate the situation and grabbed Mr Keenan by the scruff of the shirt.
"It was a bit of a push and shove type of thing," Sgt Deacon said.
"I believed he ripped off a button or two."
The police officer then entered the scuffle, intervening to assist the CEO.
The Killarney man allegedly resisted but was ultimately restrained and an additional police crew was called for assistance to arrest him at approximately 12.15pm.
He was charged with one count of assault, one count of obstructing police and one public nuisance offence.
He is scheduled to appear in Warwick Magistrates Court on March 25.
Mr Keenan declined a request to be interviewed by the Daily News, instead issuing a statement through a spokeswoman for SDRC.
The statement said council was aware of the charges laid against the man and expected "additional charges to be laid".
Southern Downs Mayor Tracy Dobie said the assault was "a very, very rare occurrence" among a community full of "generally incredibly polite and incredibly respectful" people.
Cr Dobie said she did not know what caused the man to become agitated.
"I don't think there's tension between council and the community," Cr Dobie said.
"It was a one-off incident."