Lake Wales commissioner faces domestic violence charges

- Lake Wales Commissioner Curtis Gibson Jr. addressed domestic violence allegations hanging over him Tuesday night.

“I ask that you not prejudge me and remember I am innocent until proven guilty. I fully expect to be exonerated of all charges,” he said from his commission seat. 

The charges, including aggravated assault and domestic violence, stem from an altercation Sunday with his girlfriend. Lake Wales police say it started out as a verbal spat, but became physical. 

At one point, Gibson is accused of holding a pocket knife to the woman’s throat.

Despite the serious allegations, Gibson said he would not step down.

“As I stand here today, amongst you guys, I will not resign I will stand firm here on this seat as a commissioner,” Gibson said.

Fellow commissioners decided against taking any actions aimed at Gibson Tuesday, in part because two of the five were absent. That could change at the next meeting, in a couple of weeks.

“Believe me, if they're here we'll bring it up again. We didn’t want it to be so one-sided. It would’ve only been two of us deciding,” said Lake Wales Mayor Eugene Fultz.

Mayor Fultz says commissioners would be voting on whether or not to request Governor Scott step in and remove him until there’s a resolution. The mayor says he’s not sure where his vote will fall.

“I have to wait and see because quite often when you hear one side of a story. Or sometimes when you hear both sides of a story from individuals you still may not see the truth so I think as things play out we’ll see what really transpired,” Mayor Fultz said.

Gibson is scheduled to be arraigned on September 5. His lawyer says he will plead not guilty.

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