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Birmingham mayor, city councilman hug it out after brawl

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- The mayor of Birmingham, Alabama, and a city councilman publicly apologized Thursday after a fight during a council meeting that left both men hospitalized with minor injuries.

Accompanied by ten members of clergy, Mayor William Bell and Councilman Marcus Lundy spoke to the media in an effort to bring healing to the city.

Bell appeared to be physically and verbally okay after reports said that he had multiple injuries including crushed vocal chords. Lundy stood to the mayor's right and expressed repeated apologies and forgiveness from the city of Birmingham for he and the mayor's behavior, CBS affiliate WIAT reports.

The mayor vowed that an incident such as the fight that occurred Tuesday would never happen again in council chambers and also expressed forgiveness as they try to move the city forward.

"I stand here today to apologize to the public, to recommit myself to lifting up this city and ask for the prayers and the hard work of everyone to make this city great," Bell said.

The two hugged each other twice in front of cameras and said they love each other like brothers.

"We're family, and we're gonna start acting like family," Lundy said.

The fight broke out when Bell and Lundy were having a closed-door discussion in a room behind city council chambers. The commotion could be heard from inside the council meeting. It's unclear exactly what led up to the scuffle.

Bell suffered bruising on the right side of his neck and swelling in his left knee, police said in a report. Council President Johnathan Austin showed reporters photos of scrapes on the back of Lundy's left leg during a news conference after the fight.

Bell accused Lundy of putting him in a choke hold and a warrant was issued for his arrest. The mayor withdrew his complaint Wednesday night and said he did so out of concern about the overall good of the city. He called his decision an "act of good faith," WAIT reports.

Birmingham is undergoing continuing commercial and residential redevelopment after years of decline. Bell said it's unfortunate that the fight could tarnish the city's reputation.

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