One North Canton resident says a city meeting got a little heated Monday night when he was "lured outside the public hearing" and assaulted in an open lobby inside City Hall.
Chuck Osborne, who had spoken against the addition of overhead lights to the Little League ball fields, told North Canton police a member of the Board of Directors for the North Canton Little League physically assaulted him.
"Before he assaulted me he told me he thought I was grandstanding when I spoke before city council," Osborne said in an email to North Canton Patch.
"The ordeal was a little unsettling."
North Canton City Council hosted a public meeting that started at 6:30 p.m. Monday to discuss the proposed overhead lighting. It was slated to last a half hour but continued for about an hour and a half.
The topic of overhead lights at the ball fields has been a point of contention at previous North Canton City Council meetings. Some residents and Little League officials believe the lights are necessary for tournament play and would prevent games being called because of darkness. Others believe the lights will create a nuisance for residents living near the fields.
Council President Jon Snyder said Monday night's discussion was "civil," and he did not notice any signs that a physical confrontation might occur among those in the audience.
"There were no tempers manifested or shown during that whole meeting," he said.
He said he's never known audience members to become physical over a difference in opinions.
"In all the years I've been involved in government ... well over 25 years, I've honestly never seen or to my knowledge seen it escalate to where it's physical contact," he added.
Police Chief Stephan Wilder said he's never known any physical altercations to happen inside City Hall, either.
"In my time up here, I can't recall where we've had a situation like this where two people were involved in a physical altercation, (though) there have been plenty of verbal disagreements over time, and that's expected when you're in an open forum like this," he said.
Wilder said the police department will not release the name of the suspect, as no charges have been filed. Possible charges would be one count of assault, which is a first-degree misdemeanor.
North Canton Patch typically does not publish the names of those accused of misdemeanors unless the person is a prominent member of the community.
Wilder said the department will likely see a conclusion within two weeks.
"We want to get all the facts in place," he said. "We'll discuss it with a prosecutor, then we'll go with their recommendations there (and see) whether it warrants anything else."