County Commissioner Faces Battery Charge

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By: Andy Alcock
June 26, 2014

A county commissioner faces a battery charge after he punched a teen at a Tallahassee bar.

31 year old Jackson County Commissioner Jeremy Branch admits he punched 19 year old Kev Ford, who he outweighs by about 100 pounds, at the Baja Beachclub early Tuesday morning.

Ford says Branch broke his nose.

Both men say Ford bumped into Branch as the bar was closing.

Then their accounts differ.

"I bump into this guy, I turn around and apologize and I'm apologizing and walking away, I got sucker punched," Ford said.

"I'm sorry for any embarrassment it's caused the county," Branch said. "But there are certain words you don't say to guy from north Florida," he said.

Reporter: "Was there any kind of words exchanged between the two of you?"

Ford: "No not at all, besides after I got hit, I might have said a couple of curse words."

Reporter: "You wouldn't characterize yourself as inebriated that evening would you?"

Branch: "No I don't think so."

Reporter: "Had maybe a drink or two?"

Branch: "Right."

According to the Tallahassee Police report, when an off duty officer tried to talk to Branch about the incident, he said, "I'm a county commissioner inJackson County, don't you put your hands on me."

"I don't remember specifically what I said, but it was something to that effect," Branch said.

"He was trying to use the commissioner card to get out of it," Ford said.

"Yes he did tell us he's a county commissioner," Tallahassee Police Spokesman Dave Northway said. "Unfortunately, county commissioners fall under the same laws," he said.

Reporter: "Would you accept it if he called you and apologized."

Ford: "I would, I would actually very much appreciate an apology."

"I reacted to the situation, but I do still apologize, I should've walked away," said Branch.

Ford tells us he's having surgery Friday to fix his broken nose and he expects Branch to pay.

Branch is a lifelong Jackson County resident.

A check of his criminal background there revealed only a few speeding tickets.

Branch says he intends to finish his current and second term as Jackson County commissioner.

He says he announced he wasn't seeking re-election before the nightclub incident.

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