As he was stepping off of the dais for the last time Nov. 10, outgoing Lake Helen City Commissioner Jim Connell was physically and verbally assaulted, police said.
The Lake Helen Police Department arrested George Raisler, the husband of former Lake Helen Mayor Daisy Raisler, and charged him with the attack.
Connell, who was defeated Nov. 8 in his re-election bid, told The Beacon he had said his goodbyes at the close of the meeting, wished his fellow city commissioners a good night, and made his way toward the doors of City Hall to go home, when Raisler stood up and approached him.
“This gentleman jumped up, and I thought he was coming to shake my hand,” Connell said. “Instead, he took a two-arm strong-arm push. Pushed me back a couple of feet, told me ‘f*** you.’”
In a flash, Lake Helen Chief of Police Robert Mullins had George Raisler in handcuffs.
“I think the whole altercation took a minute,” Connell said.
Raisler was arrested on one count of misdemeanor battery and checked into the Volusia County Branch Jail. Bond was set at $500. Connell does intend to press charges, he said.
According to the Clerk’s Office, Raisler posted bond and was released from jail at 10:32 p.m. Thursday.
Connell wasn’t sure what could have motivated Raisler’s attack, but he was frustrated that it happened in public at a City Commission meeting.
“It’s just rooted in the local political climate in Lake Helen, where an individual who’s opposed me — I’ve been in that job six years — decided to take out his feeling and aggression in a physical, very public, way,” Connell said. “It’s just embarrassing for the city.”
Connell had served three terms as a Lake Helen city commissioner. He was defeated in the Nov. 8 general election by challenger Charlene Bishop.
Correction: Raisler was arrested and charged with one count of misdemeanor battery. A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that he was charged with misdemeanor domestic violence.