Erin May Fitzgerald, the 41-year-old daughter of The Independent Weekly (Lafayette, La.) publishers Steve May and Cherry Fisher May, was reportedly punched and knocked unconscious by a local developer who has been engaged in an ongoing dispute with the paper over its coverage of a state property tax loophole.
The property developer/therapeutic radiologist, Dr. Glenn Stewart, has been charged with second-degree battery for the attack which took place Tuesday afternoon:
The incident was prompted by a Mardi Gras float Stewart entered into [a local parade] featuring Cherry Fisher May as the “driver” of the float with the warning: Caution!!! Float Driven by Cherry Fisher May. Stewart also ran Fisher May’s mug from her 2010 DUI arrest.
Fitzgerald reportedly attempted to remove a banner from the float, prompting Stewart to dismount the float and approach her.
Citing eyewitnesses, KATC-TV3 reported that she was hit twice by Stewart. However, another eyewitness has just told The Ind he saw Stewart deliver a single punch to Fitzgerald’s face, knocking her out. That witness, Jeremy Royer, also saw Stewart throw a jello shot at Fitzgerald when the doctor was still on the float and first realized she was trying to remove the banner. Royer confirms what other witnesses say, that Fitzgerald was leaving the area when Stewart approached her directly. In other words, she was not collateral damage in another altercation. “Erin was backing off. She was walking away,” Royer says. “She turned around, and that’s when he swung and hit her. He went dead after her, and she took it right in the face.”
The paper sent us these photos, which show Stewart standing over Fitzgerald and taking pictures of her while she lay unconscious.
In July, Stewart purchased billboard space around Lafayette to display the DUI mugshot of Cherry Fisher May. The move was retaliation for the paper’s cover story, “Green Acres,” which exposed an agriculture tax loophole that benefits his property development company.