Gallatin police have released video of a confrontation between two Sumner County Commissioners that occurred outside a meeting last month, which resulted in one official claiming he was the victim of a simple assault.
The footage, which can be viewed online at the Gallatin News’ Facebook page, lasts less than 25 seconds and shows 10th District Commissioner Paul Goode and 8th District Commissioner Merrol Hyde coming face to face in a hallway at the Sumner County Administration Building in Gallatin shortly after midnight on Tuesday, June 18.
According to a Gallatin Police Department incident report, Hyde had been looking for Goode to tell him that he could “speak for himself” following a disagreement the two had regarding an issue that had been discussed during a lengthy meeting that evening.
“Video shows Mr. Goode reaching his hand toward his own face (possibly adjusting his glasses), when Mr. Hyde pushed Mr. Goode’s hand away,” Sgt. Christian Booth wrote in the report obtained by the Gallatin News. “Mr. Hyde and Mr. Goode are exchanging words (which could not be heard in the video), when Mr. Hyde pushes Mr. Goode away into the wall.”
Goode, 51, filed a police report on July 1 – two weeks after the incident. In it he also claimed that the 74-year-old had been “yelling profanities and threatening” him in the hallway.
When interviewed by police the following day, Hyde admitted to saying “he would beat the hell out of Goode” as he passed by another commissioner, according to the report. However, he said he did not remember shoving Goode after initially denying a push had occurred.
“Mr. Hyde told me that Mr. Goode raised his hand and placed his hand in Mr. Hyde’s face,” Booth wrote in the report. “At that point, he did not know what Mr. Goode was going to do, so Mr. Hyde grabbed his hand. He said that at no point did he push or hit Mr. Goode.
“I showed him this portion of the video several times and he advised that he did not remember shoving Mr. Goode.”
Hyde did not return a request for comment.
After consulting with Sumner County District Attorney Ray Whitley, Gallatin police chose not to bring any charges against Hyde, according to the report. The case was closed July 2.
According to police, Goode could still choose to pursue a private prosecution charge of simple assault.
In a written statement Wednesday evening, Goode thanked the Gallatin Police Department for investigating the incident and "validating my factual statement of the events that occurred when Mr. Hyde assaulted me."
"I’m looking forward to our day in court where the full video will be shown as well as numerous witnesses testifying to corroborate the facts," Goode added. "I have consulted many members of the law enforcement community, attorneys, and citizens seeking guidance regarding this issue. Without exception, all have stated that they would have taken the exact same steps and course of action that I have taken including pressing charges. It saddens me that Mr. Hyde would assault someone to get his way or attempt to win a political discussion. We can all have political disagreements and civil discussions about those differences, but there’s simply no place in our democratic society for this type of behavior from an elected official."