It took a week, but finally at 9:35 p.m. on Friday, May 24, a statement from state representative Doug McLeod came through his attorney. The statement neither denied or admitted guilt and did little to resolve the issue in which McLeod finds himself embroiled.
“I would like to express my sincere appreciation and gratitude to the friends, family and neighbors who have reached out in support and have offered their thoughts and prayers in this matter. While I would like to respond to some of the many fabrications and misrepresentations being reported and published by select media outlets and on social media, I will reserve addressing these until after the process is complete. Our family appreciates your continued thoughts and prayers and ask that our privacy be respected until such time as the facts are known,” McLeod said in the statement.
McLeod was arrested on Saturday evening, May 18 and charged with domestic violence, simple assault, according to the sheriff’s department incident report. McLeod appeared to be intoxicated, the report said, with slurred speech, stumbling, walking in a “zig-zag” manner and holding a glass of a beverage that smelled as if it contained alcohol. Mrs. McLeod was found with blood on her face, neck and arms. She was complaining of her nose hurting.
She told deputies, “He just snapped,” and “this is what happens when he drinks too much.” She could not say whether she was hit with an open hand or a closed fist.
A second woman in the house at the time, according to the incident report, told investigators McLeod was “freaking drunk” and wanted sex from Mrs. McLeod. She said he was upset because she was not taking her clothes off fast enough. When Mrs. McLeod ran into the other woman’s room, McLeod threatened to kill Mrs. McLeod’s dog if she did not come out.
McLeod was arrested and charged with domestic violence, simple assault – a misdemeanor crime. He was released on a $1,000 signature bond. As George County is a dry county, he might also have been charged with possession of alcohol.
According to his statement, McLeod plans to let the legal process play out. He is, of course, innocent until proven guilty. If he is found guilty, he can be punished with a fine of up to $500 and up to six months in jail or both.
Under Mississippi law a person convicted of a misdemeanor crime may hold public office.
McLeod has served in the state legislature since 2012, representing Dist. 107, which includes parts of both George and Stone counties. He is unopposed and seeking his fifth two-year term in November. That may be in jeopardy.
There have already been calls for McLeod’s resignation. Speaker of the House Phil Gunn has said he will seek to have McLeod removed if he is found guilty and does not resign.
The legislator will have his day in court. He is to appear before Justice Court Judge Mike Bullock on July 9.
If McLeod resigns or is removed from office, that will set up a special election to fill his seat.