RACINE – Details began to emerge Sunday afternoon about an alleged altercation Friday between Racine Alderman Keith Fair and a female employee at his bar, prompting Racine County sheriff’s investigators to arrest him early Sunday morning at the establishment.
Fair remains jailed on $10,650 bond after sheriff’s officials said the employee — who is eight weeks pregnant – accused him Friday of hitting and choking her at his bar, Place on 6th, at 509 Sixth St. Fair, 59 – a highly controversial city alderman — was arrested for strangulation/suffocation, false imprisonment, battery and disorderly conduct, the sheriff’s office stated this morning.
“There was an argument between him and her at the bar,” Sheriff Christopher Schmaling told The Journal Times this afternoon. “He would routinely give her a ride home. They have a working relationship and a friendship. Things turned physical en route to her destination.”
Schmaling said he didn’t know what the two were arguing about, but that remains under investigation. However, she was not forced into Fair’s vehicle, he said.
“She got into the vehicle first,” he said. “She didn’t say she wanted to get out of the car, but it (the argument) turned physical while the car was moving” – triggering the false imprisonment charge, Schmaling said.
Jail booking records show that all four charges are felonies. He is being held in lieu of the bond amount and may appear for his initial appearance Monday in court.
Fair couldn’t be reached for comment Sunday because he remains jailed.
Schmaling said Racine police initially responded to a local hospital this weekend after the woman sought medical attention there.
“She went to the hospital for a medical problem and it was the hospital staff that discovered the injuries (and contacted police),” he said, adding the sheriff’s office took over the investigation after Racine police learned Fair was the suspect.
The woman had redness around her neck, the inside of her lips were swollen, there was redness around her wrists and the inside of her mouth apparently was bleeding at one point, Schmaling said.
“The victim’s injuries are real. I have not found any inconsistent statements with her,” he said. “We’re certainly looking into the motive and why this happened. It’s certainly shocking and alarming.”
Search warrants were served at his bar and home, according to the sheriff’s office, and a vehicle owned by Fair has been impounded. The vehicle is where the alleged incident occurred, Schmaling said, so is being held as evidence.
Racine Mayor John Dickert declined comment Sunday, saying the sheriff’s office still is investigating the accusations. He said until he receives a report from the sheriff’s office of investigators’ findings, he won’t comment on Fair’s arrest.
“We still do not have all the details,” Dickert said.
Schmaling said while Fair is a public official, he is not receiving special treatment at the jail or during the investigation.
“Mr. Fair is being treated fairly,” Schmaling said. “There are no special considerations being offered.”