WEST MEMPHIS, AR (abc24.com) - A Mid-South politician accused of beating his girlfriend always claimed he was innocent; now a court agrees. All charges were dismissed against West Memphis City Councilman Marco McClendon.
For more than a year McClendon's been fighting charges of domestic battery, felony battery, felony assault and several violations of protection orders. The councilman is ready to put the whole thing behind him.
"I did not hit her, I did not jump on her, I did not choke her," McClendon says, "She even admitted it."
Within one year McClendon was arrested twice after his then-girlfriend said he beat her. It was a move that cost him voters, and he believes hurt his chances at a run for West Memphis Mayor. The entire time he said he was innocent.
"It's been very difficult" McClendon says, "Because many people who know me know my character. I'm a meek guy, soft spoken."
For the last few years his world turned upside down. "The stigma that goes along with that, me being on City Council, being young, trying to do positive things, you have something like that, it's hard to live with being an accused domestic violence abuser, it's hard to live that down."
The court dismissed McClendon's final charge in March, but he's still living in the shadow of those charges. He hopes, like his charges, the shadow will one day disappear.
"Where do I go now to get my credibility and character restored? With these charges getting dismissed, I have no one out yelling, 'Hey Marco's innocent.'"
McClendon says he is no longer dating the woman who filed the charges against him.
He is still on the City Council and hopes to get involved with a domestic violence awareness program.