Hat Tip: By Rhonda Cook, Atlanta Journal Constitution
Atlanta police issued an arrest warrant Saturday for a man suspected of brutally beating a personal fitness trainer and putting him into a coma in a dispute that started when Mayor Shirley Franklin’s daughters complained about being videotaped outside a nightclub.
Apollo Holmes, 24, is wanted on an aggravated assault charge for the early Wednesday attack on Darius Miller in a parking lot outside two popular Peachtree Street nightclubs in Midtown Atlanta, police said.
Police spokeswoman Judy Pal said the investigation was continuing and more arrests were possible.
Holmes was “affiliated” with 01 Entertainment, a party promoter that was videotaping an event the company staged at one of the nightclubs on Tuesday, Christmas night, and early the next morning, according to a lawyer for 01 Entertainment.
Attorney Page Pate said Holmes was in the parking lot at the time.
Miller, 41, remained in a coma Saturday at Emory Crawford Long Hospital.
Witnesses said the fight started because of objections to videotaping people leaving the clubs.
But the accounts differ on what happened as Kai Franklin Graham, 35, Kali Jamilla Franklin, 29, and a third woman who has not been identified came into an adjoining parking lot at 2:30 a.m. Wednesday.
In one version, witnesses said as soon as a man turned his video camera on the three women, Miller, who has a number of celebrity clients, asked him to stop. At that point, witnesses said, about 10 men attacked Miller.
But in a telephone interview Saturday, Pate said 01 Entertainment contends the sisters started the argument that led to Miller’s injuries when Graham and her sister demanded the camera from the man they believed had just photographed them.
The attorney said Miller had gone to retrieve his truck and was not present when the dispute began.
“[The sisters] started arguing with them, saying they were already famous and they don’t need to be famous,” Pate said. “He heard the argument between the mayor’s daughters and he jumped into the middle of it.”
Pate said Miller tried to take the camera, and two other people came up to help the photographer.
“I don’t think it was as big of a melee as has been described,” Pate said. “There weren’t a lot of blows thrown.”
Then Miller went to his truck, “saying he wants to air this out,” prompting one of the 01 Entertainment contractors to fear Miller was getting a weapon, Pate said.
“As he [Miller] was trying to go into the passenger seat … he fell down and was wrestling with one of them,” Pate said. Miller, he continued, “got back up and he fell again…. He fell back … on the pavement with the back of his head.”
Miller’s publicist hung up the telephone when called for comment Saturday.
Franklin’s daughters have been unavailable for comment since the incident.
On Saturday, the mayor’s office e-mailed a statement from Franklin criticizing the news media. She did not address questions about the latest reports involving her daughters.
“This is an ongoing criminal investigation and as such all comments … are best made to the Atlanta Police Department and not the press,” Franklin said.
“As mayor I stand by APD’s best practice standards for criminal investigations rather than reckless and unprofessional press frenzy,” the statement continued. “As the daughter of an attorney and Pennsylvania judge I stand by my belief that trial by public opinion and reckless media often advance inaccurate and dangerous conclusions.”
Asked about the attorney’s version of what happened, police spokeswoman Pal said, “We’ve got enough evidence to issue an arrest warrant, and we’ll let the justice system handle it from here.”
Pate said the video camera operators did not know the severity of Miller’s injuries or that the mayor’s daughters were involved until Friday, when they saw news accounts of the incident.
“He did not tape the mayor’s daughters,” Pate said of the cameraman in the incident. “He did not even know who they were. I suppose the mayor’s daughters thought they were being taped and became angry.”
Graham pleaded guilty last month to one federal count of illegally structuring a financial transaction. Her plea agreement calls for her to serve three months of home confinement, followed by three years of probation. She will be sentenced in early 2008.
Pate said his clients will meet with detectives within a few days.
“They didn’t know what was happening,” Pate said. “It got out of control and alcohol fueled it.”
I find it particularly interesting that Mayor Franklin doesn’t feel the need to explain the conduct of her children or why one of her girls is constantly mixed up in some bullshit she has no business being involved in. Public resources are being used in this matter and the role of the police is not not a private thing that they can keep on the hush hush for long. A good brotha is in a damn coma and somebody needs to explain why.