special report

In late February, a post circulated on social media which claimed a Richmond City Commissioner brandished a gun on a citizen.

The post, which was published by Grant Woleslagel on his page on Feb. 27, read: “Ed McDaniel the commissioner of Richmond came to where I live got out of his truck threatened to beat me up then pulled a gun out and cocked it. No joke lol. I will be pressing charges buddy. No joke. Here he is waiting on me ON MY STREET.”

The post also included a picture of a truck, which was later confirmed by The Register to belong to Commissioner Ed McDaniel. 

Immediately the post began to circulate throughout Madison County and left many to speculate on what actually happened. 

The Richmond Register has been investigating this incident for months and has obtained multiple police records, body camera footage, security footage, and 911 phone calls of the incident which led to the Facebook post.  

Woleslagel had harassment charges filed against him by McDaniel, stemming from the incident in February. In police records, McDaniel claimed Woleslagel followed the commissioner to his home and threatened him.

Those charges were later dropped. 

According to an investigation synopsis KYBRIS Report Narrative obtained by The Register, the altercation between the two men began on Alycia Drive in Richmond on the morning of Feb. 27. 

Woleslagel and McDaniel told Richmond Police they got into a verbal argument — with each man blaming the other for the beginning of the argument. 

According to body camera footage of Woleslagel's interview with officers, Woleslagel said he believed McDaniel was on Alycia Drive in order to find him and harass him. 

McDaniel told the officers and The Register he was at his gym working out, which is also located on Alycia Drive. That information was corroborated by security footage of the gym. 

In security footage obtained by The Register from the workout facility, McDaniel can be seen leaving the gym, then suddenly pulling into a parking lot on Alycia Drive. A white vehicle, later identified as Woleslagel's, can be seen coming into the frame closer to McDaniel's parked vehicle. The commissioner then exits his vehicle to speak Woleslagel, according to police documents.

In the security footage, McDaniel can be seen climbing back into his vehicle, leaving the scene, with Woleslagel following closely behind McDaniel. 

McDaniel told officers later in an interview, at that time, he contacted RPD Police Chief James Ebert for advice on the situation, and if he should report it.

Simultaneously, Woleslagel continued to follow behind McDaniel, and called local 911 dispatch.

In a recording of the 911 call obtained by The Register, when dispatch answered, Woleslagel stated he was on the bypass and McDaniel had threatened him. Woleslagel claimed McDaniel got in his face, and he was following him to get his license plate number which was then relayed to the dispatch operator by Woleslagel. 

According to the dispatch narrative, Woleslagel was advised four times by dispatch to not follow McDaniel for his own safety. He declined the advice, and stated he was going to follow McDaniel to his house because he had threatened him first.

Dispatch again told Woleslagel to not follow the commissioner as they had all the information they needed to find McDaniel. 

From there, Woleslagel told the dispatcher he would be pulling off on Goggins Lane further down the road in the area of the first subdivision. After a few moments of silence from Woleslagel, he gave the dispatcher the street name where McDaniel lives as his current location.

According to McDaniel, his wife and daughters were at home of the time of the incident and he had just pulled into his driveway. 

While on the phone with dispatch, the operator could hear Woleslagel yelling at McDaniel, "You're such a f***ing bada** ain't ya? The cops are on the way." 

On the 911 call, the dispatcher can be heard asking Woleslagel if he followed the commissioner to his house. Woleslagel did not reply to dispatch and continued to yell at McDaniel and asked, "You came to my house and threatened me. You're a piece of nobody. Who the f*** do you think you are?" 

Woleslagel then stated, "You're a piece of s***. You come to where I live — I have got you on tape." He continues to ask McDaniel who he thinks he is, and tell him that he is nobody. 

During the 911 tape, it appears Woleslagel stated "Huh, let's do what?" In response to something McDaniel had said which was unrecognizable on the tape. 

The narrative goes on to state Woleslagel began shouting homophobic slurs saying to McDaniel, "You're a f***ing f****t. F**k you, who do you think you are?"

A few moments later Woleslagel can be heard on the 911 call saying, "Oh now he cocks his gun." After several seconds of silence, the dispatcher asked Woleslagel if McDaniel had pointed his gun at him. Woleslagel responds to dispatch and said, "Yeah, he did." Dispatch then asked if Woleslagel was inside his vehicle, and where he was. 

The narrative said Woleslagel did not respond to dispatch but stated, "He pulled out a gun, what a f*g." Again, dispatch asked Woleslagel of his whereabouts. He replied, "Whatever dude," and after a couple of seconds, dispatch can hear Woleslagel yell out of his vehicle, "F****t!" He then asked dispatch if they were on the line, and hangs up on the dispatcher. 

The dispatcher then calls Woleslagel back.

He answers the call and said he was still in the area, but would not specifically state where. When asked again where he was, Woleslagel told dispatch, "driving," saying he left the neighborhood and McDaniel began to follow him. He asked dispatch where the cops were, and stated again McDaniel was following him and "He pulled a gun on me, he cocked it back." He said to dispatch that he could now see cops arriving near McDaniel's home, and that he was no longer following him. 

According to police records, responding officers said they did not meet McDaniel on the road when arriving at the scene. McDaniel told The Register he never left his driveway.  

In an interview with The Register, McDaniel said after Woleslagel called him homophobic slurs, Woleslagel pulled up his car about 20 feet from McDaniel's house. The commissioner said he then saw, what appeared to him to be, Woleslagel reaching for something in the glove compartment of his vehicle. 

"I see his arm go up like he's digging in the console and I think, 'Well he is going for a gun now,' so I reach in my truck and I get mine and I set it up on my bedrail and lean up on my truck and I cross my arms," McDaniel said. 

The commissioner said, as his family was at home at the time, he felt compelled to protect himself and them if Woleslagel indeed was reaching for a weapon. 

McDaniel attests he at no time pointed the firearm at Woleslagel. He stated after he placed the firearm on the bed rail of his truck, Woleslagel yelled a final homophobic slur and sped off. 

After that, McDaniel said Sargent Zach Stokes came to his home to follow up on the report and checked the gun which was still near McDaniel's truck. 

"I never carry it loaded because I have kids, and I just don't," he told The Register. He turned the firearm over to Stokes, who asked where the magazine was located. McDaniel responded it was in the glove compartment separate from the firearm. 

The same time police were taking the statement of McDaniel, another officer located Woleslagel in his vehicle on Goggins Lane. 

In RPD body camera footage obtained by The Register, when the officer arrives to speak with Woleslagel, he stated he thought McDaniel was looking for him near his home on Alycia Drive where the verbal altercation took place. However, Woleslagel then later states he doesn't know how McDaniel could know where he lived as he had recently moved and admits that McDaniel told them during their argument the reason he was in the area was because he was at the gym. 

Woleslagel told police he never got out of his vehicle and claimed he took a video of McDaniel during the argument — but, while speaking to the officer and looking for the video, he realized he only took a photo of McDaniel's truck.

RPD body camera footage shows Woleslagel had a loaded gun in the passenger seat of his vehicle, which the officer asks about, and later inspects and unloads. Woleslagel said he never pointed it or raised it at McDaniel.

He also told the officer he did not believe McDaniel was going to shoot him. 

He told the responding officer the altercation began over his Facebook group, 'I love Madison County,' and claimed McDaniel attempted to intimidate him in order to prevent him from running from office. 

Woleslagel admitted to the responding officer he should not have followed McDaniel to his home nine minutes away, but stated he did so because "It pissed him off." 

"I don't think an elected official should be doing that," Woleslagel told the officer in body camera footage. "They should be held accountable, and I wanted to get his license plate."

Woleslagel told officers he had never even met McDaniel, nor spoken with him in person, but knew where he lived because he lived two doors down from his "good friend," City Commissioner Jim Newby's former residence. 

The officer asked "What the beef was" between Newby and McDaniel, and Woleslagel replied, "I have no idea, I try to stay out of it." He then went on to say he tried to stay out of their issues, because he plans to run for city commission himself. 

At the verbal altercation on Alycia Drive, Woleslagel claimed McDaniel was angry with him for a former post, and claimed McDaniel stated Woleslagel was "trying to take votes from him."

But once the argument moved to McDaniel's home, Woleslagel claimed "They were just arguing back and forth." 

"I followed him, which I should not have done, but I wanted to get his license plate and I knew if I didn't, Ed would just do what the f**k he wanted. Because right now, he has power, you know what I am saying?" He asked the officer. "He said, 'Oh I have a meeting with the city chief' or whatever, and I was like I don't care, I am not even running for politics."

Later on, the footage shows Woleslagel on a phone call with Newby. He told the officer, "I am on the phone with Jim right now." Woleslagel then speaks into the receiver of the phone and stated, "Hey Jim, I am talking to the cops. I'll call you back, brother." 

While police were interviewing both McDaniel and Woleslagel, Newby made an additional post on Facebook about the incident. 

The commissioner posted a photo of cop cars outside of McDaniel's home which read, "The street I used to live on in Brookline Subd. I wonder what all the cop cars are doing there?"

As confirmed by The Register through police body camera footage, Woleslagel was on the phone with Newby around the time of the incident and Facebook post. 

Multiple attempts were made by The Register to reach Woleslagel and Commissioner Newby for comment. Neither responded before press time. When attempting to contact Woleslagel by phone, The Register received an out-of-service message. 

In an interview with The Register, McDaniel claimed this event was a culmination of several incidents, including disparaging Facebook posts and comments about McDaniel and the commission, made by Woleslagel. 

McDaniel said he believed both Woleslagel and Newby are working together to unseat him from the commission in efforts to place Woleslagel on the body.

In a previous interview with The Register and discussion with the police, Woleslagel confirmed he is friends with Newby and plans to run for a city commission seat. 

When asked by The Register why the harassment charges against Woleslagel were later dropped, McDaniel said he did not want a trial distracting him because he had "far better things to be worried about" as a city commissioner and wanted to focus his attentions on the needs of the city.  

Also, McDaniel said, he wanted the documents to be unsealed for transparency, and not tied up in litigation within the courts. 

In the body camera footage, Woleslagel told officers he wanted to press charges against McDaniel to hold him accountable. However, no charges have been filed against McDaniel. 

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