Ala. Fire Official Arrested for Drunk Driving, Assault
Montgomery Advertiser, Ala.
Aug. 20—A former top fire official may have driven a city vehicle while intoxicated during a June domestic dispute with his long-time girlfriend, according to a city investigation.
The Montgomery Advertiser obtained documents Friday that said former Chief of Operations Kenneth Bolling was intoxicated as he "busted (the victim's) door" and allegedly assaulted her on June 28 after drinking at a fire department convention. Detectives took pictures of a bruise and scratches to her face, neck and right arm, according to the documents. No pictures were included in the documents provided.
It was the first time the victim reported abuse, per the documents, but she said it is allegedly not the first instance of violence by Bolling.
A police report about the altercation given to the Advertiser the morning of the June incident stated that Bolling and his girlfriend were at her house drinking when they began to quarrel about their relationship. The victim alleged in the original report that the fight turned physical when Bolling forced himself into her bedroom in an aggressive manner and that she hit him in self defense.
The investigation uncovered a video of the altercation that was deleted from Bolling's city-issued phone hours after the incident. Bolling and the victim can be heard cursing and arguing with each other in the video, documents show.
"Based on the video, it is apparent Chief Bolling drove his 2017 City Tahoe ... to the scene, in civilian clothes. Background audio from Bolling's video indicated his MF/R two-way radio was tuned to (or scanning) police main channels," the documents show.
Bolling arrived at her house after meeting with senior staff and fire chiefs from other departments in preparation for the Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge.
He then assaulted her, took her cellphone and identification card and fled the scene, according to the investigation. The victim went to a neighbor's home, and the neighbor called law enforcement at about 3 a.m., per the investigation. It was originally reported the incident took place between 3 a.m. and 4 a.m.
Bolling allegedly returned to work the next morning without notifying anyone about the altercation. He was arrested at his home after 11 a.m., and officers indicated in their arrest report that he had no injuries at the time of his arrest and was not under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Bolling resigned the day after news reports came out and the city began its investigation. But because he left the department before the investigation concluded, he was not interviewed.
"Due to Bolling's resignation, he is no longer a City employee and not subject to interview by the Office of City Investigations," the report said.
Different documents show Bolling and the woman were in a relationship for five or six years. The victim also alleges in Montgomery Police Department body cam footage that she "covered" for Bolling when "Internal Affairs came to (the victim's) office" in the past.
Investigators compared the residence in the video took on Bolling's phone to the officers' body cam video to confirm that Bolling's video was of the same incident.
Fire Chief Miford Jordan wrote to Bolling on June 28 to tell him that he was being put on administrative leave without pay, pending investigation.
An email reveals that investigators sought out Bolling's phone the next day. Investigators appear to have compared a photo or video still of Bolling's license plate that was captured on his city phone near the reported time of the incident.
In 2007, the Montgomery Advertiser reported that Bolling, at the time a district fire chief, was arrested and charged with domestic violence after being accused of hitting his common-law wife.
A police spokesman said in 2007 officers responded to the Bolling home at 3 a.m. and spoke with the victim, who told them that a verbal fight between her and Bolling had turned physical when he struck her.
According to her statement to Montgomery police at the time, "her husband punched her in the mouth with a closed fist."
The fire spokesman said at the time that officers on the scene received conflicting reports from the husband and wife, but after noticing she had swelling and a cut to her lip, the officers placed Bolling under arrest on domestic violence and harassment charges—both misdemeanors—and took him to the city jail.
He remained in the department during the proceedings.
Jordan said at the time that Bolling should have his day in court to face the charges against him, and the Fire Department isn't in a position to intervene in a dispute between two spouses.
In 2004, according to court documents, Bolling's common law wife filed a temporary protection order against him that was granted.