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Assault in Athens said road rage, not ‘politically motivated’

An incident last Saturday afternoon in Athens was not “politically motivated,” according to Athens police, but a case of road rage.

The statement was in response to media inquiries regarding an altercation at the Lowe’s parking lot.

The questions were prompted by a news release from the Alabama Republican Party which claimed the incident was an “apparent politically motivated attack” and “left fellow members of the Limestone County GOP shaken.”

However, in a statement Tuesday, Athens Police Chief Anthony Pressnell denied that characterization of the incident.

“Our investigation suggests road rage led to the altercation between a driver in one vehicle, and a passenger in another vehicle,” Police Chief Anthony Pressnell said Tuesday. “We received numerous questions from media asking about it being a politically motivated attack, which we never reported, and there is no indication that was the case.”

Pressnell said that, per department procedures, neither he nor investigators discussed specifics of the case with anyone outside of those involved in the altercation. Police took statements from the women involved in the altercation, which stemmed from one vehicle running a stop sign, and obtained video footage from Lowe’s. 

“Neither woman indicated this was politically motivated,” Presnell said.

At this time, neither party has pursued charges, and Athens Police consider the case closed, the statement said.

According to the ALGOP statement, one of the women, identified by the party at Tara Johnson, is a volunteer for the organization.

Updated Wednesday to reflect the latest information from the Athens Police Department.

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