Poll Worker Charged For Biting Allegedly Voter
The man accused of biting a voter on the nose outside a polling location along Memphis Avenue was charged for his alleged role in the altercation, police say.
Cleveland Patrol Officer Jennifer Ciaccia tells Fox 8 News that James N. Williams, 53, of Cleveland, was charged with assault today and is scheduled to appear in Cleveland Municipal court on November 12.
Williams is currently being held in the Central Prison Unit after turning himself in to authorities at the Justice Center downtown on Wednesday.
According to Sgt. Sammy Morris, Williams initial arrest stems from a complaint filed with police by Greg Flanagan, 49, who told authorities he went to the Gloria Dei Evangelical Lutheran Church on Memphis Avenue to vote Tuesday afternoon.
On his way into the church, the lifelong Clevelander noticed a woman holding signs that supported a local, municipal judge.
Flanagan said after voting he saw the woman outside arguing with a man about her signs. According to Flanagan, Williams then reportedly injected himself into the dispute, insisting the woman was not meeting requirements to stay 100 feet away from the polling place.
Flanagan says he grew concerned for the woman when Williams got “animated”, and that’s when, according to Flanagan, Williams turned around, head-butted him, then bit him “hard” on the nose.
“I was stunned by what was happening,” Flanagan told Fox 8 News reporter Bill Sheil, adding that he felt that he was “in danger” during the attack that lasted less than a minute. “If it was any longer, I wouldn’t have a nose,” Flanagan says, “because he was going to bite it off.”
Flanagan says another poll worker rushed to help by pulling Williams off of him. As police were being called, Williams left the scene.
An ambulance took Flanagan to MetroHealth Medical Center for his injuries, where he was treated and released.
“I’m in a program, a 12 step program and we forgive people,” Flanagan said. “I forgave him but we still don’t let people trample over us either, we forgive but we follow through with the law.”
Jane Platten, Director of the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections, said Williams, “has worked for eight elections since 2006, without incident.”
She also said that the Cuyahoga County BOE was cooperating with police and its investigation.