DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - A Daytona Beach commissioner is facing battery charges after police said he punched a 66-year-old veteran during an argument.
Robert Gilliland, 47, was arrested Sunday, but later bonded out of jail.
Police said Gilliland was in his car outside the Pelican Bay subdivision on Beville Road about 1 a.m. and started honking at the driver in front of him, who was talking to the security guard at the gate.
Gilliland became agitated, honked and lurched his car toward Alan Robinson's car, police said.
Once inside the gate, authorities said, both men got out of their cars and argued.
Robinson thought the commissioner was intoxicated and said he tried to take his keys.
According to reports, the men kept fighting and Gilliland allegedly punched Robinson on the side of his face and near his right ear.
“He’s yelling out the window so I got out of the car and, you know, he jumps out of his car whatever and comes up to me, and you know, whacked me,” Robinson said.
Reports said Robinson’s eye was bloodshot from the blow and his right ear was red.
“He hit me in the ear, and when I’m coming back out, he punched me in the eye. I didn’t touch him,” Robinson said. “His actions are absolutely deplorable.”
Robinson, who says he’s a disabled veteran, did not need medical attention.
Gilliland has since hired attorney Michael Politis, who told Channel 9 his client was the victim in the case.
Politis said video, witnesses and physical evidence will prove his client is innocent.
Robinson called Gilliland's defense a joke and said the commissioner's rage was fueled by alcohol.
"This guy is drunk. The police knew he was drunk. They filmed him in his car drunk," said Robinson.
Police said they smelled alcohol on Gilliland's breath.
Gilliland was charged with battery on a person over 65 years old but not for DUI because police said they did not see him driving his vehicle in that condition.
Officials would not release video from officers or the guard gate but said it shows Gilliland driving.
“You smell the liquor on his face. I mean, he was drunk,” Robinson said.
Police also said Gilliland’s speech was slurred and he was having trouble standing.
If convicted on the battery on a person over 65 charge, Gilliland could be removed from the commission.
Gilliland is the second Daytona Beach commissioner to find himself on the wrong side of the law since March.
Carl Lentz is facing a battery charge for allegedly throwing a drink at a bartender at a city strip club.