Politics & Government

Top Miss. Republicans speak out after lawmaker found not guilty of domestic violence

Top Republicans in Mississippi are “concerned” after state Rep. Douglas McLeod was found not guilty of domestic violence Tuesday in the assault of his wife.

Philip Gunn, speaker of the House of Representatives, released a statement after a George County Justice Court judge found McLeod not guilty after being accused of punching Michele McLeod in the face at their home in May.

“The whole situation is still very concerning, not only to me, but to many other members of the House of Representatives,” Gunn said in a press release. “The court may have found Representative McLeod not guilty, but as a member of the Mississippi Legislature to find yourself in this situation — it is still an issue.”

Gunn said he will refer the matter to the House Ethics committee for further consideration.

Mississippi Republican Chairman Lucien Smith sided with Gunn.

“The Mississippi Republican Party continues to condemn domestic violence in the strongest possible terms,” Smith said in an email. “I share Speaker Gunn’s concerns about Rep McLeod’s actions and applaud him for referring this matter to the ethics committee.”

Republican lawmakers called for McLeod’s resignation after he was initially arrested on a domestic violence charge.

Michele McLeod testified he was under the influence of alcohol and ibuprofen and was in a “state of delirium” when she tripped over her yoga pants and collided with one of McLeod’s limb, causing her nose to swell and bleed.

The police report obtained by the Sun Herald said McLeod became violent and hit his wife in the face for not undressing quickly enough for sex.

Michele McLeod said her husband has never assaulted her.

McLeod represents Stone and George counties and is unopposed in the November 2019 election.

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Justin Mitchell is the southern regional growth editor for the Biloxi Sun Herald, Columbus Ledger-Enquirer and Macon Telegraph. He also reports on LGBTQ issues in the Deep South, particularly focusing on Mississippi.
Margaret Baker is an investigative reporter whose search for truth exposed corrupt sheriffs, a police chief and various jailers and led to the first prosecution of a federal hate crime for the murder of a transgendered person. She worked on the Sun Herald’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Hurricane Katrina team. When she pursues a big story, she is relentless.