BERRYVILLE, Ark. — A Carroll County justice of the peace is charged with misdemeanor assault after shoving a man in Berryville during an argument about a proposed tax for an ambulance service in the eastern part of the county.

Justice of the Peace John Reeve, 86, was charged after shoving Jim Lowery, 66, at an automobile service station, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported Saturday (http://bit.ly/2bPq7Gu ).

“He just exploded,” said Lowery, a Democrat who is running for the seat held by Reeve, a Republican who is not seeking re-election. “He completely lost it for probably 30 seconds. He came at me. I put my forearm up, and he grabbed my forearm, twisted it and shoved me backwards.”

Reeve said Lowery started the Aug. 17 argument.

“He said we’re asking for money that we don’t need,” Reeve said. “I volunteer at the hospital. He said that’s a conflict of interest and I can’t advocate for ambulance service when I do volunteer work at the hospital.”

Reeve, who is due in court Oct. 5 to enter a plea, said Lowery taunted him, repeatedly saying “Hit me.”

“I pushed him on the shoulder and arm, and he immediately yelled ‘I’ve been assaulted,'” Reeve said, a claim that Lowery denied.

Lowery said he doesn’t plan to press charges, and formal charges haven’t been filed.

“I’m not mad at John,” he said. “Personally, I’d just as soon they let it go.”

Berryville Police Chief Robert Bartos said the altercation is still under investigation.

The proposed 2.5 mill property tax would generate an estimated $550,000 to $600,000 annually to help pay for emergency ambulance services.

The question will be on the Nov. 8 general election ballot for voters east of Kings River.


Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, http://www.arkansasonline.com