Tusc. councilor to enter C.L.E.A.N. program following arrest - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Tuscaloosa councilman to enter C.L.E.A.N. program following drug arrest

Posted: Updated:
Tyner seen in a police mug shot following his December arrest Tyner seen in a police mug shot following his December arrest

Tuscaloosa City Councilman Kip Tyner will enter a pre-trial diversion program following his arrest on a drug possession charge.

On Monday afternoon, Tyner addressed the media with comments about the charge and his plea.

Tyner formally entered a guilty plea; however, that plea will be set aside while he completes a program called C.L.E.A.N.  If Tyner successfully completes the program, the charge will be dismissed.

The councilman says he thought long and hard about fighting the drug charge.  At a news conference at Capitol Park, it was clear he wanted to say more in his own defense.  But he said he didn't want to put his friends and family through the lengthy process of going to trial.

He also talked about the night of December 3rd, the night he was arrested.  He said he had not consumed any drugs, and he pointed out the nature of the drug charge.

"You look at the charge -- 'possession.'  I wasn't in possession," Tyner said.  "If you're in someone's house that, you may be at a party, and if someone has something, you're seen as just the same as if it was yours.  It's the same as in a car.   So, I was not in possession of anything."

He told ABC 33/40 he does not pretend to be perfect.

"I have done things in my life that I'm certainly not proud of.   But, I give my word, I am not on drugs," Tyner said.

"After completing this program, the charges will be dismissed," Tyner said.  "The alternative would have been to go to trial, which would continue through most of 2012, probably October or next November at the earliest.  For the sake of the wonderful people of this city and my family, my friends, and especially my dear mom, I want to bring this insidious nightmare to a swift end."

Tyner insisted he is not receiving any special offers because of his position in the public spotlight.  The C.L.E.A.N. program is offered to others who are accused of similar offenses and have no criminal background.

Tyner said he will continue on the City Council, focusing on rebuilding his district following the April 27 tornado.