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ALDOT Director John Cooper arrested on harassment charge

GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. (AP) — Alabama Transportation Director John Cooper was arrested Monday on a misdemeanor harassment charge, jail records show.

Cooper, 75, was arrested shortly before noon and booked into the Marshall County Jail on a charge of harassment. The longtime transportation director was released on $500 bond about 40 minutes later.

Chief Deputy Willie Orr, of the Marshall County Sheriff’s Department said the arrest stemmed from a private citizen making a complaint against another. He declined to elaborate on the nature of the dispute. He said Cooper came to the jail around midday and turned himself in.

An attorney representing Cooper issued a statement indicating it involved a land dispute with a neighbor. George M. Barnett, an attorney representing Cooper, said to settle the matter he is asking the court for a declaratory judgment “regarding a land dispute with a neighbor who is falsely claiming an easement on Mr. Cooper’s property.”

Barnett wrote that the “clearest legal path to resolving this matter is to have the court determine whether an easement exists.”

Cooper has been the director of the Alabama Department of Transportation since 2011. He is a member of Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey’s cabinet. Ivey spokeswoman Gina Maiola did not comment on the arrest.

“While the legal process plays out, I will refer you to the statement from Director Cooper’s personal attorney,” Maiola wrote.

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