Daytona Beach City Commissioner Rob Gilliland, who has been accused of punching a 66 year old man during a late night argument, is hoping that a video account of what happened during the incident will help him stay out of prison.
Gilliland has been charged by police with felony battery, after the victim reported that the commissioner staggered drunk from his SUV early Sunday and got into a brawl with him which ended with Gilliland punching the elderly man outside the entrance gate to the posh Pelican Bay neighborhood. Gilliland’s DUI attorney has however completely denied these claims.
Gilliland Shies Away from Media
When the assault was first reported, the police officers in Daytona Beach County said that they could not charge the commissioner with a DUI and assault charge since he had not been seen behind his wheels by a member of the police force. But after Police Chief Mike Chitwood had a conversation with the State Attorney R.J. Larizza on Monday, he decided that the police officers were wrong in not asking Gilliland to take a breath analyzer test and a field sobriety test. Prosecutors will now investigate the matter and decide whether Gilliland’s actions should merit him a DUI conviction.
The Commissioner meanwhile has refrained from making any public comments about the incident. His DUI attorney Michael Politis has been fielding all media questions since he was hired on Monday to be Gilliland’s voice in the public. The only thing Gilliland had to say about the whole issue was that he has never been embroiled in something like this before.
911 Caller Mentions Physical Fight
According to police and eyewitness accounts, the brawl happened right outside the gate of the Pelican Bay gated community in Daytona Beach. 66 year old Alan Robinson, and his son, were at the west entrance of the neighborhood parked in Robinson’s Corvette while Alan talked to a guard. The duo had arrived there much before Gilliland.Daytona Beach City Commissioner Rob Gilliland made a mistake that has hurt his image.
The Commissioner then pulled up his SUV behind the Corvette and when he realized that Alan was not going to move out of the way immediately, he started to become furious and yell expletives. A visibly drunk Gilliland then lurched his SUV forward many a times as if getting ready to hit Robinson’s Corvette.
The security guard then opened the door and both the vehicles moved inside the compound. Both men then got out of their cars and a heated argument began. Robinson says that at this point he realized that the Commissioner was drunk as he reeked of alcohol. So he took away Gilliland’s keys and asked the guard to call the police.
There are some people who believe Alan though is partly to blame here because he should have pulled out of the way after he noticed someone waiting behind him. But that is no reason to get punched.
The police report states that Gilliland was slurring, had difficulty walking straight, and had alcohol on his breath when the officers questioned him. The police report also notes that when the guard called 911, he made mention of a drunk guy creating a brawl. And that the drunk guy had physically punched the other guy. Gilliland’s name is however never mentioned during the call.