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VOL. 38 | NO. 37 | Friday, September 12, 2014

Sen. Summerville charged with public intoxication

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NASHVILLE (AP) - Outgoing state Sen. Jim Summerville, whose behavior has often drawn the ire of his Republican colleagues, has been charged with public intoxication.

The Dickson Republican was arrested Friday evening. The Dickson Police Department says he was intoxicated, he walked in the road carrying a lawn chair, and he sat in other people's yards.

He was released on $2,000 bond.

The day before, police said Summerville's next-door neighbor filed a complaint that he allegedly shined a flashlight into her dining room window for several hours.

Summerville did not immediately return a call to The Associated Press on Wednesday seeking comment.

Summerville resigned from the Republican Caucus last month after a loss in the Aug. 7 election primary.

His behavior and controversial legislation have made headlines on several occasions during his term.

Last year, he proposed a measure to eliminate affirmative action initiatives from higher education institutions in Tennessee. After the legislation failed, Summerville threatened GOP lawmakers who voted against it, saying they would face repercussions in this year's election.

Summerville also was heavily criticized for an email he sent insulting the Legislature's black caucus.

In the email to then-black caucus chairwoman Barbara Cooper, he wrote: "I don't give a rat's ass what the black caucus thinks."

The email was sent after the caucus issued a news release critical of a hearing, led by Summerville, that looked into allegations of grade tampering at Tennessee State University.

Summerville later apologized for the email.

When Summerville's intoxication charge was mentioned to Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey this week during one of his usual meetings with reporters, the Blountville Republican said: "I just pray for him, seriously."

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