Charges Dropped in 2012 Wilton Manors Klansman-Drag Queen Brawl After Video Emerges
Screengrab from YouTube
For Boyd Corbin, the long slog is over. After more than two years, five lawyers, and one quixotic mayoral campaign, the Wilton Manors resident has finally resolved the criminal charges filed against him after a 2012 Halloween brawl at Georgie's Alibi. Corbin, dressed as a tiki-torch-wielding Ku Klux Klansman, faced off against a Dame Edna Everage impersonator named Michael Walters. After the fight, Corbin was charged with a serious felony.
Just hours before his trial was scheduled to begin this month, however, the Broward State Attorney halted the prosecution. A new YouTube video of the incident has emerged that backs up Corbin's story.
"I just wanted to get it over with, any way possible," a relieved Corbin told New Times this week. "I've been out on bond for years. I'm tired of dealing with this."
Wilton Manors Police and Walters both maintained that Corbin came to the bar's annual Halloween party and costume contest, got into a verbal scuffle with Walters, then began wildly jabbing the lit torch at the impersonator before pulling Walters down and brawling.
The incident landed Corbin a felony aggravated assault with a deadly weapon charge -- the deadly weapon here being the lit tiki torch. Over the past two years, Corbin has fought to prove that it was more a fair fight and that he never jabbed a lit tiki at anyone.
Despite the fact that he had witnesses who backed up his claim, Corbin didn't convince prosecutors until the video smoking gun (below) was found. In the clip, which was posted on YouTube on November 6, 2012, you can clearly see Walters trading shouts with someone in the crowd. Then, around the 7:45 mark, Walters blows out a tiki torch clutched by the Klansman-outfitted Corbin. Walters' wig is swiped off. Then Walters clearly storms into the crowd. The camera doesn't catch the remaining brawl, but one thing is evident from the tape: Corbin wasn't jabbing the torch in a threatening manner.
The case, however, has been waterlogged with strange, troubling twists. Prosecutors didn't hand over a statement taken by police from a witness who backed up Corbin's claim until late in the game -- March 2014. Corbin became a regular bullhorn at Wilton Manors City Commission meetings, blasting the police handling in the case. He tangled with officers assigned to his case, bugged the Police Department to open internal investigations into their own, then blogged about the experiences on his website. Boyd even ran for mayor.
And despite the recent results in his favor, Corbin still has suspicions about how this was all handled.
"I seriously doubt that the YouTube video was found the night before my trial, as the state's attorney says," he tells New Times. "They really wanted me to accept a misdemeanor plea. If I hadn't demanded a speedy trial (against the wishes of my lawyers, because they had to do a lot of work to prep for the trial), then I doubt that this video would have surfaced."
Corbin isn't done. He wants the police and state attorney to pursue perjury charges against Walters and the other witnesses who lined up against him. He's also looking into legal action against the city.
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