Atlanta police arrested a volunteer for Atlanta City Council President Ceasar Mitchell's mayoral campaign Thursday on charges that he swiped a provocative sign at City Hall slamming the candidate.
The placard went missing hours after Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed directed aides to post it prominently at City Hall, an apparent response to an anonymous ethics complaint that accused the city of misusing government resources to make it.
Authorities said that Terry Morris was charged with misdemeanor theft by taking after he was identified on City Hall surveillance video. It was not immediately known whether he had hired an attorney.
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Mitchell, a leading contender in the crowded race to succeed Reed, said Morris was an "occasional citizen volunteer" and that his campaign had no involvement in the sign's disappearance.
"He was not instructed by the campaign to remove the signs nor was he authorized to do so," said Mitchell. "There have been a number of negative distractions as of late and I believe it’s time to get back to the real issues that are important to the people of Atlanta. Let’s all stay focused on what really matters."
The sign was at the center of a memorable Aug. 31 press conference held by Reed after Mitchell called for a moratorium on the approval of city contracts because he said he was worried that contracts are being “pushed through” by the mayor’s team in his final days in City Hall.
It proclaimed that Mitchell “has paid the second-highest ethics fines of any sitting elected official in Atlanta municipal government” and it caused a stir at City Hall on Wednesday when it reappeared shortly after Reed's office responded to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution about the ethics complaint.
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