Wednesday, May 9, 2018

An eyewitness saw Blue Cross/Blue Shield employee Mike McGarity, our Alabama neighbor with a lengthy criminal history, assault me with a roadside sign

Mike McGarity
Mike McGarity, our criminally inclined neighbor in Birmingham, generally has been portrayed here as the guy who launched all of our legal headaches -- and he is that. But McGarity also is a violent thug who lies to police officers. And I'm not the only one who has seen evidence of that.

We've reported several times about McGarity's physical attack on me, which ended with him striking me in the back with a roadside sign. (See here and here.) That did not come as much of a surprise, given that McGarity has at least eight criminal convictions in his background, including offenses that involved sex and violence (not to mention a drug charge that was nolle-prossed).

It is ironic, however, that McGarity would become a long-time employee at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama. As a federal Medicare contractor, BC/BS of Alabama is supposed to follow strict guidelines for employee screening -- and that makes one wonder how McGarity slipped through the cracks, especially if he filled out his application truthfully.

McGarity's criminal record -- at least the part we've been able to uncover -- involves misdemeanors. But his attack on me, under Alabama law, was a felony. I did not file charges because multiple law-enforcement types in Shelby County insisted it would have to be charged as a misdemeanor, and I was not going to move forward with a complaint that wrongly classified what McGarity did. (More on my interactions with Shelby County "law men", on the felony vs. misdemeanor element of McGarity's assault, in an upcoming post.)

As for the assault itself, I have an eyewitness to the event -- and she is about as credible as a witness can get. Here is how I described the attack in a post last year, comparing my experience with that of U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) after he was attacked by a neighbor:

I can identify with [what happened to Rand Paul]. Mike McGarity, our former Birmingham neighbor with an extensive criminal record, once assaulted me by hitting me in the back with a roadside sign. It left a bleeding gash on my back, which likely would have been worse except it was a fairly cool fall day and I was wearing a heavy sweatshirt. Such an assault with a "dangerous instrument," under Alabama law, is a felony. But Shelby County officials insisted on treating it as a misdemeanor, so I did not file charges.

I noted, at the time, my long-standing concerns that McGarity might someday turn violent:

Carol and I lived next door to McGarity for more than 15 years. I can recall often being concerned that, while doing yard work, I would be attacked by the loon next door -- much as Rand Paul was. In fact, I often would mow our yard while keeping one eye on the mower and the other on what might be lurking next door. As it turns out, McGarity did not assault me on my property.

What exactly did McGarity do? Here is how I described it in a November 2017 post:

What did I do to incur McGarity's wrath? I walked to the entrance of our neighborhood to remove signs (for-sale signs, garage-sale signs, etc.) that had been unlawfully placed in the right-of-way and were obstructing the view of drivers trying to pull onto a busy highway. [See note at the end of this post.] I was trying to keep someone from getting hurt or possibly killed. But McGarity was having none of that.

He followed me and started putting the signs back up. When I told him why I was taking the signs down, he said, "Let's get it on, right here." I said I wasn't interested in fighting him, but the signs were going to come back down. When I turned and walked away, he swung a sign as hard as he could and hit me in the middle of the back.

What is it like to be attacked by a thug with a lengthy criminal record? It's not fun, as I made clear in the earlier post:

Reading about the Rand Paul incident drove home the possible danger from living next door to someone who is more than a little unhinged. It also reminded me that I haven't written all that much about what McGarity did to me, especially when you consider the serious nature of any assault. McGarity's behavior was particularly creepy because he essentially stalked me -- followed me to the entrance of our neighborhood, where he had no business.

Much more about McGarity's assault on me needs to be told, and I intend to tell it. As noted previously, a woman who lived in our neighborhood was an eyewitness to the attack. I have her name and statement about what she saw, and I soon will be sharing that with Legal Schnauzer readers. It will make clear that I was, in fact, the victim of a felony assault.

Now, it's time to identify the eyewitness and present her statements about what she saw McGarity do to me. We will have that in an upcoming post.

Note: Placing unauthorized signs (garage-sale signs, political signs, real-estate signs) in the right-of-way of a state highway is illegal in Alabama. The relevant law is Code of Alabama 23-1-6, which reads: "Signs, markers, and advertising on the rights-of-way of state controlled highways are prohibited except those official signs or markers placed thereon by the State Department of Transportation or under its authority." Here are links to two articles on the subject:

Signs on the state highway right-of-way are illegal . . .

Wrong-of-way: Yard sign laws often ignored . . .

(To be continued)

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