OPELIKA, Ala. — The Lee County Sheriff’s office has confirmed to WSFA that Republican state senator Tom Whatley has been arrested and charged with third degree domestic violence. He has posted a $500 bond and has been released after spending the mandatory 12 hour period in the Lee County Jail.
Watley was first elected to the legislature in 2010 and represents Lee, Russell and Tallapoosa counties in the state senate.
UPDATE 1: Domestic violence in the third degree is a Class A misdemeanor. Here’s what the Alabama code says about it:
(a) A person commits domestic violence in the third degree if the person commits the crime of assault in the third degree pursuant to Section 13A-6-22; the crime of menacing pursuant to Section 13A-6-23; the crime of reckless endangerment pursuant to Section 13A-6-24; the crime of criminal coercion pursuant to Section 13A-6-25; or the crime of harassment pursuant to subsection (a) of Section 13A-11-8; and the victim is a current or former spouse, parent, child, any person with whom the defendant has a child in common, a present or former household member, or a person who has or had a dating or engagement relationship with the defendant. Domestic violence in the third degree is a Class A misdemeanor, except the defendant shall serve a minimum term of imprisonment of 48 hours in a city or county jail or detention facility without consideration of reduction in time for any second or subsequent conviction under this subsection.
(b) The minimum term of imprisonment imposed under subsection (a) shall be double without consideration of reduction in time if a defendant willfully violates a protection order issued by a court of competent jurisdiction and in the process of violating the order commits domestic violence in the third degree.
UPDATED 2: Sen. Whatley and his fiancé released statements through their attorney, which can be read below.
Statement from Sen. Whatley:
Unfortunately, I was arrested last night on a misdemeanor charge of domestic violence. I would like to assure the citizens of Senate District 27 that I was not violent with my fiancé, Lindsay Waits.
Tuesday evening the police were in my neighborhood, apparently because of a report of a homeless person sleeping in the area. Lindsay and I were out on my back porch and were involved in a discussion, but we were not violent to one another. I love Lindsay and I would never be violent toward her.
We will now take this matter through the normal legal process until it’s resolved.
Statement from Lindsay Waits:
As Tom Whatley’s fiancé, I would like to state, very adamantly, that I did not call Auburn City Police with a report of domestic violence on Tom. Tuesday night we were involved in a discussion outside Tom’s house. Apparently, the police were nearby on another matter and heard us and came, even though neither one of us nor any neighbors had requested assistance.
There was absolutely no violence involved by either party. I cannot state enough what a warm, loving relationship Tom and I enjoy. Neither would ever hurt the other and I consider this matter to have been a misunderstanding.
I will be proud when this issue is resolved so that we may move forward with our lives.
We will continue to update this story as more details emerge.