Marietta Ward 5 councilman Reggie Copeland (City of Marietta)

Marietta Councilman charged with obstruction following wreck

A Marietta City Councilman has been charged with obstructing officers during an investigation into a wreck he was involved in Friday.

Reggie Copeland, who represents Ward 5 in northeast Marietta, was charged with three counts of misdemeanor obstruction after police say he refused to provide identification or get out of his truck when asked by police. Officers physically pulled him from the truck and handcuffed him.

Copeland, who was elected to his first term in November 2017, has not returned calls or emails seeking comment. He was booked into and released from the Cobb County jail Wednesday evening with a $1,870 bond, records show. 

According to a description written by an officer in an accident report and in an arrest warrant, Copeland’s 2017 Ford pickup truck was struck by a woman making a U-turn at the intersection of South Fairground and Haley streets. Police responded to the accident and asked Copeland seven times to provide his driver’s license, which he refused to do, the warrant states. He also refused to step out of the truck after police asked him to do so eight times, the warrant adds.

Copeland resisted coming out of his truck “by grabbing the center console and pulling himself toward the center of the vehicle,” the officer wrote in the warrant.

Once he was removed from the car, Copeland, 56, allegedly pulled his hands and wrists away while officers tried to handcuff him, according to police.

Reggie Copeland.

Following his handcuffing, it’s not clear what happened, but apparently Copeland was not immediately arrested. Marietta police declined to comment on the incident, and would not explain why there was a gap between the time of the encounter with police and when the charges were filed against Copeland.

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Neither Copeland nor the other driver, a 19-year-old woman, involved in the collision was injured. That woman, who had a passenger in her car at the time of the incident, was cited for the crash.

Copeland has been a controversial figure during his 18 months in office. A city employee, Lindsey Wiles, tried to file an ethics complaint against Copeland, alleging he acted aggressively towards her following a city event in August 2018. Wiles didn’t live in the city, so Marietta leaders changed their ethics ordinance to allow non-residents to file complaints.

Copeland filed for a restraining order against fellow Councilman Andy Morris after the two got into a shouting match during a June 2018 City Council meeting. In 2018 he also sued a Cobb County parks worker for $23,400 relating to an April 2016 crash involving a county vehicle.

Mayor Steve Tumlin said the charges surrounding Copeland are “unfortunate because he is a friend and a colleague.” Tumlin said the city charter does not allow for the City Council to remove Copeland from office. He can only be removed if he’s convicted of a felony or if there’s a successful recall petition.

“I wish it hadn’t happened,” he said. “It has, and now it has to run its course.”

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