Raleigh city planner accepts apology in punching incident

ccampbell@newsobserver.comAugust 15, 2013 

Mitchell Silver

AMERICAN PLANNING ASSOCIATION — American Planning Association

— A former city employee accused of punching planning director Mitchell Silver has agreed to settle assault charges with an apology and a small fine.

Lillian Thompson, who used to work in Silver’s department, attended a public hearing in July to oppose a controversial Sheetz gas station near her Northeast Raleigh home. Thompson approached Silver after the meeting and wasn’t happy with the outcome; some neighbors were upset that planning staff had changed their recommendation to support the Sheetz application.

Silver said his former employee punched him in the shoulder, though she has described the contact as a “tap.”

On Thursday, Silver issued a press release with Thompson, announcing that the matter was resolved last week through Wake County’s District Criminal Court Mediation Program. Thompson now admits that she punched Silver – “it was not a tap or a knock,” the news release said.

Thompson admitted that her behavior was inappropriate and apologized to the city planner, who accepted the apology, according to the release. Thompson will also pay a $60 fine when the charges are officially dismissed in court.

Silver’s “intent for filing charges was to ensure public meetings are safe environments to discuss public matters,” he said in the release.

Silver – a veteran city planner who recently wrapped up a two-year stint as president of the American Planning Association – has attended countless heated public hearings in his career, but he said the June punching incident marked the first time he’s been assaulted on the job.

Campbell: 919-829-4802 or twitter.com/RaleighReporter

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