Witnesses say Mick Ireland a victim of `unprovoked attack | AspenTimes.com

Witnesses say Mick Ireland a victim of `unprovoked attack

John Colson

According to a witness, Pitkin County Commissioner Mick Ireland was the victim of a “totally unprovoked attack”at the Aspen Post Office last weekend.

The police report on the incident details an attack that two men witnessed and that was, according to both men, not brought on by Ireland.

Ireland, 51, was punched repeatedly by Kevin McCarthy, 43, after the commissioner pulled his red Volkswagen convertible into a parking space at the post office next to McCarthy’s Range Rover.

According to Ireland’s version in the report, his car door “slightly touched” McCarthy’s passenger door as he got out. McCarthy later admitted to police that Ireland’s door had hit a protective rubber strip on the door, and that there was no damage, the report reads.

Nevertheless, witness Paul Roach “said the man yelled at Ireland, then got out of his Range Rover and began punching Ireland. Roach said it was a totally unprovoked attack,” according to the report, written by police officer Brian Heeney.

Ireland maintains that he tried to apologize, and that when McCarthy continued to yell at him, he raised his hands in frustration and retorted, “Whatever,” or, “Whatever you say.”

McCarthy, however, maintains that Ireland was “puffing out his chest and pulling back his shoulders” in a posture that McCarthy said “provoked” him into taking the first swing.

Neither witness, however, backed up McCarthy’s description of Ireland’s behavior. Witness Gary Luhnow allegedly told police that “the attack was not justified” and characterized McCarthy as “nuts,” “ballistic,” “out of control” and “crazy.”

Luhnow told police that when he arrived at the post office he saw two men “wrestling” near the entrance. Luhnow said he thought the combatants were kidding around until, as he described it, one of them threw the other to the ground and started punching him.

Heeney reported that McCarthy initially claimed not to know whom he had punched, but then said that he “looked like Mick Ireland, whose picture is always in the paper.”

Ireland sustained minor injuries in the attack, including a bruise to his right temple, cuts to one hand and a bruised left shin, according to the police report.

McCarthy has been charged with assault and battery and ordered to appear in municipal court.

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