MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) – A Mobile city judge did not commit the violence described in a criminal complaint against him, a witness to the altercation said Wednesday.
Phaedra Mitchell, who graduated from LeFlore High School in 1990 and attended an alumni event over the weekend, told FOX10 News that she saw the incident. She said it occurred shortly after a parade put on by the Toulminville-LeFlore High School Alumni Association.
Mitchell said a horse started moving toward the crowd, scaring her 5-year-old granddaughter.
“My granddaughter was in my right hand, and she ran across me, across to my left, and she was, like, shaking and crying,” she said. “And when I looked up, there was a gentleman coming, and he was not running the horse, but trotting the horse. You know, the horse was moving kind of fast.”
The man on the horse, Howard Glaude, accused Mobile Municipal Judge Karlos Finley of pulling him off of the animal and punching him repeatedly in the face.
Mitchell said she does not know Finley and did not realize until later that he was a judge. She said he intervened and exchanged cross words with the man on the horse. But she said she did not see any of the violence Glaude described in his police complaint or in an interview with FOX10 News.
“Karlos Finley was like, ‘Hey.’ He was walking behind him, and he was, “Hey, get that horse of here. We got kids out here and that horse is messing everywhere, you know, and we got food out here,’” she said. “The guy turned around and say something, but Karlos Finley turned back around, came back out on his knee, consoled my granddaughter.
“Like, ‘It’s OK. We’re not gonna let anything happen to you.’ That was the end of it,” she said. “There was no extension off the horse. There was no hitting in the face. All he did was talk loudly.”
Glaude said his horse never moved aggressively toward anybody. He dismissed Mitchell’s account.
“That surely is a contrived witness statement,” he said. “I have witnesses who confirm what I said.”
Glaude said those witnesses already have spoken with police. He said he violent encounter with Finely occurred two or three hours after the judge made a first attempt to pull him off the horse.
“The second time, I had to defend myself,” he said.
Finely has denied any wrongdoing but has declined to talk about the case in detail, citing the ongoing investigation.
Glaude said he and Finley had been family friends dating back decades. He said he remains perplexed about what set him off.
“All I could see was a sense of entitlement in his eyes,” he said.