- Associated Press - Thursday, December 17, 2015

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - The mayor of Birmingham, Alabama, and a city councilman publicly apologized Thursday after a fight during a council meeting that left both men hospitalized with minor injuries.

Mayor William Bell and councilman Marcus Lundy were having a closed-door discussion in a room behind city council chambers when a fight broke out Tuesday. The commotion could be heard from inside the council meeting. It’s unclear exactly what led up to the scuffle.

Bell suffered bruising on the right side of his neck and swelling in his left knee, police said in a report. Council President Johnathan Austin showed reporters photos of scrapes on the back of Lundy’s left leg during a news conference after the fight.

Bell accused Lundy of putting him in a choke hold and a warrant was issued for his arrest. The mayor withdrew his complaint Wednesday night and said he did so out of concern about the overall good of the city.

Birmingham is undergoing continuing commercial and residential redevelopment after years of decline. Bell said it’s unfortunate that the fight could tarnish the city’s reputation.

“I stand here today to apologize to the public, to recommit myself to lifting up this city and ask for the prayers and the hard work of everyone to make this city great,” he said.

Bell and Lundy were flanked by ministers at city hall during their apology in council chambers. The two hugged each other twice in front of cameras and said they love each other like brothers.

“We’re family and we’re gonna start acting like family,” Lundy said.

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