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Athens man jailed after commission meeting fracas

Camden Pace struggles with an ACC police officer at a commission meeting on April 2, 2024
Camden Pace struggles with an ACC police officer at a commission meeting on April 2, 2024

An Athens man is in jail after disrupting Tuesday’s meeting of the Athens-Clarke County Mayor and Commission and engaging in an altercation with a police officer.

Camden Pace, who described himself as a rabbi, spoke near the end of the meeting, when members of the public can address commissioners on any topic. In a rambling tirade, Pace alleged that he had been physically and verbally attacked downtown. He also accused Mayor Kelly Girtz of being, “a paid-off, Satan-worshipping, Communist, child-trafficking Democrat.”

“I’m going to have to shut you down now,” said District 9 Commissioner Ovita Thornton, who was presiding over the meeting in Girtz’s absence. Thornton told Pace that his time to speak in front of the commission was up.

“You can shut me down, because I’ve got my words in, lady,” Pace retorted, before continuing to speak and turning to rip up a sign held by a pro-Palestinian protester in the rows behind him.

An Athens-Clarke County police officer approached Pace, taking him by the arm to remove him from the room. Pace struggled with the officer and attempted to grapple with him, causing a scuffle involving the officer and several county officials, including County Manager Blaine Williams.

As Pace was being subdued, a shaken Thornton moved quickly to adjourn the meeting.

As of early Wednesday morning, Pace was being held without bond at the Clarke County Jail, charged with felony obstruction of a law enforcement officer and misdemeanor disorderly conduct.

Martin Matheny is WUGA's Program Director and a host and producer of our local news program 'Athens News Matters.' He started at WUGA in 2012 as a part-time classical music host and still hosts WUGA's longest-running local program 'Night Music' which is heard on WUGA and GPB Classical. He lives in Normaltown with his wife, Shaye and dog, Murphy.