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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA / A news summary

Councilman Accused of Choking Man

March 17, 2000

WEST COVINA — A city councilman is being accused of trying to choke a construction worker and pushing him against a car outside an elementary school, police said Thursday.

Police Chief Frank Wills said officers took a report at the scene involving Councilman Michael Touhey and sent it to the district attorney for review. Touhey was not arrested.

"A construction worker alleges he was choked by Mr. Touhey," Wills said. "Mr. Touhey alleges the construction worker was reaching for his hammer."

The worker, 21-year-old Jason Hornback, was "held against his car by the weight of Mr. Touhey, and his hands were in the neck area," Wills said.

The incident started when Touhey's wife Debbie became involved in a disagreement with Hornback outside San Jose Elementary School Tuesday morning. She reportedly demanded to know Hornback's name and employer, Wills said. He reportedly made a derogatory remark, Wills said.

She drove home and told her husband about the exchange, and he returned to the school, Wills said.

At 8:30 a.m., police received a call from another contractor at the scene and arrived to find the Touheys and Hornback.

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