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Witnesses: Fist fight breaks out involving Independence Councilman Tom Van Camp

Posted at 12:53 PM, Nov 06, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-06 19:32:41-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — An Independence City councilman got into a fist fight at a polling station Tuesday morning, according to witnesses.

The apparent fight broke out between councilman Tom Van Camp and another adult male at the Christ United Methodist Church, located on 39th street.

Lee Williams, who was at the polling station collecting signatures in an effort to remove Van Camp from his seat on the city council, said things got out of hand when a man began yelling at Van Camp from across the parking lot.

"He yelled and said, 'Tom Van Camp, you S.O.B.' and then he walked across toward Tom," Williams said. "This guy was also wearing a volunteer hat so we thought he was working for Tom."

Williams said she thought the man, who she couldn't identify, was just joking around so she went back to collecting signatures.

A short time later, Williams said she looked up and saw Van Camp and the man on the lawn of the church exchanging punches.

"Tom's down there on the grass and this other guy's down there on the grass and they're punching each other," Williams said. "I was just shocked to see my councilman in a fist fight."

Another person who was working the polls also said they witnessed the fight and confirmed Van Camp was involved.

Williams said the scuffle went on for a few minutes when a voter contacted police.

When reached by phone, the Independence Police Department said it did respond to a fight at the church but could not confirm if Van Camp was involved. 

IPD issued the following statement to 41 Action News: 

On 11/06/2018 at about 08:07 AM, Independence police officers were dispatched to the Christ United Methodist Church (14506 E. 39th Street) on a Common Assault involving two people both described as white males.  The caller said the two males were fighting in the parking lot of the church. When the officers arrived at the scene, both subjects had already left in two different vehicles and no contact was made. The officers could not determine who was involved in the altercation and cleared the call, returning to normal service. Since that time, none of the involved persons have contacted the police department to make a report.

Williams said there were people nearby who recorded the fight. 

However, 41 Action News was not able to track down the video.

The effort to remove Van Camp from the city council comes on the heels of a 41 Action News investigation that revealed the councilman spent thousands of dollars on trips that don't all appear to be related to city business. 

The 41 Action News Investigators reached out to Van Camp about the matter but have not received a response.