A Davidson County commissioner is charged with simple assault and assault by pointing a gun.

Commission Chair Todd Yates is accused of pulling a gun on one of his tenants, James Strickland. Strickland says it happened after a conversation about the building he rents from Yates.

Strickland is concerned since Yates is a well-known name in the community and he holds a position of power. He says he felt bullied by Yates before but this is the first time a weapon was involved. 

“I am tired of him getting away with things,” Strickland said.

Yates was not arrested the day of the incident, but Strickland immediately went to the magistrate’s office to file charges.

“Everybody else around this community is scared of him. I am not scared of him,” Strickland said.

According to Strickland, he has been renting space from Yates for about five years for his fabrication business. Strickland claims he had issues with the condition of the building since the start and Yates refused to fix the issues.

“I’ve got thousands of dollars in fabrication equipment in there that is getting ruined … It is hindering my business,” Strickland said.

On Friday, Strickland said the two had a conversation in Yates’ office.

“I am sitting down, and he starts off cussing me … I said, ‘Look, I’ve … talked to a lawyer, and I was advised by a lawyer if I couldn’t get this fixed, I needed to start taking my money to the courthouse,” Strickland said.

After he said that, Strickland claims that is when Yates pulled a gun on him. 

The Davidson County Sheriff’s Office responded. Sheriff Richie Simmons said deputies listened to both sides, but the alleged incident did not happen in front of law enforcement, and there was not any evidence to make an arrest, so deputies referred both men to the magistrate to file charges if they wanted.

“If I was in his office, and I would have pulled a gun on him, I would be in the jail with a high bond … Because of his position in the county, it is just swept under the rug,” Strickland said.

Simmons said there was no favoritism. That is the typical response in these types of incidents.

FOX8 reached out to Yates, and he said in a statement: “I have been advised by my legal counsel that I cannot comment on the charges due to the fact that the case is currently pending in court. I have absolute confidence in our justice system and I am confident that I will be vindicated at the conclusion of the court process.”

Yates is due in Davidson County court on June 27.

“Let’s just hope for the best,” Strickland said.

On Monday night, Davidson County commissioners have a meeting, and Strickland plans to go in front of the commission during public comment to share his thoughts with the entire community.

Copyright 2024 FOX8 WGHP

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