No arrest pending after fight outside Monday's County Council meeting

zmurdock@beaufortgazette.comApril 16, 2014 

CITY OF BEAUFORT

Beaufort police say they do not have enough evidence to make arrests following a brief scuffle outside Monday night's Beaufort County Council meeting.

Beaufort Liquidation owner Jeff Lowe and Lt. Col. Scott Manning of Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort were involved in the altercation, according to an incident report from the Beaufort Police Department.

Lowe has said he broke a rod in his surgically repaired hip and has retained a lawyer. However, "the investigation has determined that there is not sufficient probable cause to obtain a warrant for the arrest for either of the alleged participants," Cpl. Hope Able of the Beaufort Police Department said Wednesday.

Lowe has been involved in a months-long attempt at a zoning mendment that would allow an outdoor flea market outside his store. The exemption is required because Beaufort Liquidation is within three miles of the Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort main gate and is in a "compatible-use" zone that restricts activity on the property because of concerns about jet noise.

On Monday, County Council voted to disallow the outdoor flea market. While the council meeting continued inside, Lowe, Manning and supporters of Lowe who attended the meeting apparently exchanged words outside the county administration building.

Investigators found no physical, video or photographic evidence of the incident, Able said. Witnesses, including Lowe and Manning, also gave "pointedly conflicting" reports of what led up to the incident and who was the aggressor, she added.

"The statements varied from saying there was a completely unprovoked assault on Mr. Lowe, to a verbal altercation that led to an assault, to an attempted assault by Mr. Lowe (that) Mr. Manning intervened in," Able said.

Manning attended Monday's meeting in his official capacity as an attorney with the community liaison team for the air station, according to air station public affairs officer Capt. Jordan Cochran.

With no pending charges from the Beaufort Police Department, the air station will not investigate the incident further, Cochran said Wednesday.

Follow reporter Zach Murdock at twitter.com/IPBG_Zach.

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