Folks in Versailles are still buzzing about a fight that broke out last week between Woodford County Fiscal Court Magistrate Ken Reed and Bobby Dotson, brother of another magistrate.
"It's been the talk of the town," said Versailles City Council member Carl Ellis, who witnessed part of the fight. "It's just an unfortunate situation."
Dotson, who was punched twice in the face, has not pressed charges since the April 3 altercation, but he said in an interview Friday that he does plan to seek charges against Reed.
Dotson said he has also asked Citizens Commerce National Bank Chairman Frank Stark to remove Reed from the bank's board of directors.
"I told him I can't continue to be a customer when you've got a board member who beats up the customers," Dotson said.
Messages were left for Reed Friday but he could not be reached comment.
Dotson, 79, told police that he was punched twice in the face by Reed, also 79, at the back door of Cornerstone Pharmacy along Lexington Street in downtown Versailles. Police were dispatched to the scene shortly before 11 a.m.
According to police records obtained through an open records request, Dotson said as he entered the pharmacy, Reed held the door open, talking to someone.
Dotson said that as he entered, Reed asked him, "What in the hell are you looking at?"
In the Herald-Leader interview, Dotson said that he responded, "I'm looking at you, you ugly son of a bitch."
"Dotson stated that Ken Reed then punched him in the face and they began to fight," the police report says. "Dotson stated the fight was then broken up and he was standing talking to someone. Dotson stated that Ken Reed then approached him again and punched him in the face."
Reed admitted to police "that he did strike Bobby Dotson," according to the report. "Reed stated that Dotson called him a 'son of a bitch' when he entered Cornerstone Pharmacy and that is when the fight began."
Ellis, the Versailles councilman, said in an interview that he witnessed the second punch.
Ellis said when he came upon the scene, Dotson was on the ground and Reed was on top of him. Customers and barbers from Steve's Barber Shop next door to the drugstore came out to see what was going on.
"People were milling around. ... They got Kenny off of him and Bobby got up and was standing by the backdoor of the drugstore," Ellis said. "There was a pickup truck there in one of the parking spaces (on Lexington Street), and Kenny went over there and leaned on it."
Ellis said he went up to Dotson and asked what happened. "He took a swing at me," Dotson said.
Ellis tells what happened next: "And Reed comes back around where Bobby was, and somebody stepped between them — I still don't know who it was — and Reed made the statement, 'Well, I guess I showed you I'm not afraid of you' and then hit him again. Bobby hadn't provoked that. That's what I saw."
Ellis said he called Versailles police. The police report said "both parties had visible injuries from the fight." Dotson said the cut over his right eye didn't require stitches.
"Two 79-year-old men, now," Dotson said in a tone of disbelief. "We could sell tickets for that, probably. Two 79-year-old men aren't going to hurt each other real seriously. I've got AFib (atrial fibrillation, an irregular heartbeat that can lead to stroke or heart failure) and I've got a real bad knee."
Dotson initially told police he was going to press charges against Reed, but then told Versailles Police Sgt. Gordon Warren on Monday that he did not wish to do so. Dotson now says he will press charges "probably Monday."
Dotson said he is a customer of Citizens Commerce National Bank, but that he was once on the board of United Bank & Trust Co. in Versailles.
Dotson said he told Stark, chairman of the Citizens board of directors: "When I was on the (United) bank board, we tried to keep the customers and tried to get new customers. Your board member is trying to beat up your customers. So I kind of left him with an ultimatum" to get rid of Reed as a director.
Stark said Friday that directors are elected at an annual shareholders meeting. "There's nothing at this point in time that we can actually do," Stark said.
Reed's side of the dispute, according to the police report, is "that Bobby had made inappropriate comments to him in the past (November 3rd, 2014) at a local restaurant and again this date which, in his opinion, is an ongoing situation which caused the disturbance."
Dotson said Reed came into Addie's Restaurant (now The Woodford Inn) some months ago "and he stood there and just stared at me. So finally after a while I asked him what the hell he was looking at. That has nothing to do with this."
Reed told police Tuesday that he "does not wish to pursue criminal charges" in regard to his harassment complaint against Dotson. So police closed the case on Thursday.
Reed, an IBM retiree, was elected in 2010 as 4th District magistrate to Woodford Fiscal Court. He was re-elected last year.
Dotson, a retired mail carrier, ran for the Democratic Party nomination for Woodford County judge-executive in 1998, but was defeated in that year's May primary.
Dotson's brother, Gerald Dotson, 64, is the 5th District magistrate on Woodford Fiscal Court, and sits across from Reed during court meetings.
It appears that Reed will not face any consequences in terms of his fiscal court seat. The county ethics ordinance deals with conflicts of interest, receipt of gifts and misuse of confidential information, but does not address behavior outside of Reed's official function as magistrate.
Bobby Dotson said he thinks Reed is mad at him because Dotson supported Reed's opponent, Ken Kerkhoff, in last year's Democratic primary election for 4th Distict magistrate. Reed defeated Kerkhoff, a Versailles City councilman, in that May 2014 election.
"That's where it all stemmed from," Dotson said.
Dotson said Reed has not apologized to him. Nor has Dotson apologized to Reed for calling him a "son of a bitch."
Dotson said he has received several calls from people asking about the fight.
"It's all over town," he said. "Even somebody from a local church called me the other night and said they had a prayer meeting the other night and that was the topic of conversation."