For the second time in eight days, retired educator and grandmother Sally Little found herself in an uncomfortable situation.
Just more than one week after she told police that Norman City Councilman Kelly Lynn cursed at her and caused her mild physical injury when he placed his hands on her at the culmination of a three-minute bar room political discussion, Little stood behind a row of TV cameras this afternoon outside the Cleveland County Courthouse and watched a bipartisan group of women — including Norman mayoral candidate Dr. Nicole Kish — conduct a press conference regarding Little’s allegation against Lynn.
Kish added her own allegation of “harassment” by Lynn, saying he has sent her “attacking” text messages “pretty late at night” and that Little’s allegation against the controversial councilman is “quite serious and quite violent, if true.”
“Women have the right to difference of opinion without fear of harassment, retribution, intimidation or physical assault,” Kish said. “This is not an acceptable treatment of women.”
As Kish and a campaign staff member read statements to the media and criticized another mayoral candidate for whom they said Lynn has claimed to be a close advisor, Little stood several feet away. Holding onto her husband’s arm and a friend’s hand, she mostly looked at the ground.
After the press conference, Little asked TV cameramen not to film her, but she answered questions about her Jan. 23 encounter with Lynn.
“I’ve really been trying to pray for him, and I’m not there yet,” Little said, noting that Lynn seemed heavily intoxicated and irrationally angry during their encounter. “But I’ve been praying for his wife and his family since the night it happened. I do not want them to have to be afraid.”
‘He shoved her around like a limp rag doll’
Little came away from her Jan. 23 encounter with Lynn feeling very afraid, and she said she remains worried about retribution. She had gone to the Brookhaven Louie’s Grill & Bar location to have a drink and watch football with her friend, Jeannie Taylor, who also released a statement Monday corroborating Little’s version of events.
Both women said Lynn approached Little and asked if he could have a cigarette. Taylor said Lynn sat down at their table even though he was “totally uninvited” and asked the two women whom they were supporting in Norman’s Feb. 8 mayoral election. Little said she was voting to reelect Mayor Breea Clark. Taylor said she went to the bathroom while Little and Lynn discussed the mayoral race because she is not a Norman resident.
“When I returned, they were in a heated discussion about defunding the police. He said he had been a part of Unite Norman but no longer was,” Taylor said in her statement distributed to media. “He told Sally she was stupid for wanting Ms. Clark to be re-elected. He was slurring his words and seemed to be extremely wasted — my opinion. Sally did tell him he was ignorant for not listening to or liking opinions that were different from his. He then argued with me when I said the game was over and [the Kansas City Chiefs] had won in overtime. I gave her a look of, ‘It’s time to go.'”
Little and Taylor both said Little extended her hand to shake Lynn’s. Taylor said Lynn then “raised his hand in a threatening manner and leaned forward toward her.” At that point, Little said she grabbed her mostly empty glass and used it to toss a lime at Lynn.
“I tossed that lime at him trying to slow him down because I felt like he was coming toward me. It was just the closest thing. I didn’t throw the glass at him,” Little told NonDoc. “Then I turned to grab my purse, and that’s when he got me and dragged me back [toward the door].”
Taylor said Lynn “lunged toward her and grabbed her hair (in a ponytail at the time) and neck of her sweatshirt.”
“He shoved her around like a limp rag doll being ravaged by a German Shepard. Sally is all of 5’2” and weighs 107 pounds dripping wet, in addition to being 66 years old,” Taylor said. “He was screaming at her to get the fuck out of the restaurant, that she was a fucking psycho bitch and a mother fucker — all the while pushing and shoving her toward the door. I was yelling at him to let go of her and she was screaming for help, saying she wasn’t kidding that she needed help.”
Both women said two other men and Louie’s staff members intervened, “instantly” asking Lynn to leave.
“I remember the men trying to make sure I was OK and offering to pay my tab, and I remember the wait staff and the assistant manager were surrounding him and going out another door,” Little told NonDoc. “I was just trying to get my stuff together to get out of there. I was kind of in flight mode, you know? Get me somewhere safe.”
Little said the political discussion escalated to the physical confrontation quickly, in “about three minutes.”
Women question Mashburn’s decision not to charge
It took only three days for the Norman Police Department to complete its investigation of the incident and for Cleveland County District Attorney Greg Mashburn to decline to file charges. Mashburn — who also declined to file charges regarding a 2021 sexual battery allegation against former University of Oklahoma lobbyist John Woods — did not respond to multiple requests for comment prior to the publication of this article.
Little said she and Taylor reported the incident to Norman police immediately after it happened and that NPD Detective Thomas McGuire interviewed her the next day, Monday, Jan. 24. Little said she called McGuire back Tuesday to tell him she had gone to a physician because she feared she had broken ribs. (She was told she had pulled muscles in her side and strained ligaments in her shoulder.)
Within 24 hours, McGuire called back to inform Little that Mashburn — who is up for reelection in 2022 — had declined to charge Lynn after reviewing her assault and battery allegations.
“He just said that the DA said we were at ‘dual fault’ because I threw the lime and he grabbed me,” Little said. “Mr. Mashburn’s name was never mentioned. Whoever did this was always referred to as ‘the DA.'”
Asked if she felt she and Lynn were at “dual fault” in the situation, Little said, “Absolutely not.”
Taylor said Mashburn’s purported view that both parties were at equal fault “makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.”
“Sally was told that the DA declined to file charges because they were both at fault? Really? A limp, wet lime is equivalent to a large man putting his hands on a petite woman?” Taylor said. “I’m going to need someone to explain that to me.”
The NPD report on the incident indicates that Mashburn’s decision not to prosecute was made Jan. 26. The redacted report also lists Little and Lynn each as a victim and as a suspect “based on both reporting it to NPD,” according to public information officer Sarah Jensen.
Lynn sent NonDoc a text message regarding the situation.
“I refer you to the NPD that fully investigated the claims, presented it to the DA, and it was declined for any further action because the claims were uncorroborated by independent witnesses,” said Lynn, an attorney and military veteran elected to Ward 3 of the Norman City Council in 2021. “I did not pursue charges against the individual.”
Asked if he had any regret over the incident or whether he was saying the altercation did not occur as alleged by Little, Lynn did not respond.
Little said she was never contacted by Mashburn or anyone from his office and that she found the quick process of “who decides who gets prosecuted and who doesn’t” to be confusing.
“I didn’t understand that until this happened,” Little said. “I didn’t realize that if something like this happened to someone, it was completely taken out of their hands and given to someone who never questioned me and never called me.”
Little’s daughter, Kelsea Mills, spoke briefly at Monday’s press conference to thank community members for rallying around her mother. She emphasized that she was not endorsing any candidate for office and that she thinks her mother should have been contacted by Mashburn’s office.
“How is the DA’s investigation legitimate without all parties involved being consulted?” Mills said after the press conference. “I honestly don’t know what to expect or what is normal, but I would be inclined to think it was too quick a turnaround if the full process for investigation was not followed.”
After being told that Mashburn would not be filing a charge against Lynn, Little said her attorney advised her to send a letter to city leadership regarding the incident to make sure it was publicly documented.
Sent at 10:13 a.m. Friday, Jan. 28, Little’s email to Clark and Norman City Council members — not including Lynn — appears here in its full and unedited state:
Dear Mayor Clark and City Council Members,
I feel that you should be made aware of an incident that occurred with Ward 3 City Council member Kelly Lynn on Sunday evening, January 23rd, at approximately 8:30pm.
I was approached by Mr. Lynn in a local restaurant where he asked for a cigarette. Senseless banter occurred where he stated he was “a fucking city council member”, and he walked away. He returned and sat at the table next to us. At this point he asked who I was voting for in the mayoral election. I replied Breea Clark, and he promptly told me to “shut up.” A minute or two later he asked me why I would vote for that “fucking bitch who defunded the police,” and I replied that I felt she “had handled all the crap thrown at her with grace and dignity.” He continued with the same line, “she defunded the police.” I finally asked him if he knew the definition of the word defunded. I was then called names by Mr. Lynn that I have never been called in my life. His favorite was ‘Ignorant fucking pscho bitch,’ whch he used many times along with ‘mother fucker.’ There were several people in the room who who heard this.
My friend and I decided it was time to leave to get away from him. I reached out my hand to shake his with the intention of asking if we could agree to disagree, at which point he moved quickly toward me with his arms raised. Out of fear, I reached for the closest thing to me which was an empty glass. I slung the lime in the bottom of the glass toward him and it landed on his vest. As I grabbed my purse to get away, I was all of a sudden grabbed by my shoulder, hair, and clothing – yanked backwards and dragged and shoved toward the door as he yelled “get the fuck out.” I screamed for help, and people came to get him away from me. The manager escorted him out of the restaurant and told me that he was walking home due to being so drunk (even before his arrival to the restaurant) that he was unable to drive. Said manager would not let us leave until the parking lot was safe, at which time we were escorted to our cars.
A police report was filed immediately. The DA decided not to pursue the charges.
I required medical attention for pulled muscles in my ribs from being yanked, shoved, and dragged. I am a 66 year old, 5’2″ 107 lb. retired educator, daughter, wife, mother, grandmother, and veterans’ advocate. I do not deserve what this man has done to me. I do not feel safe in my own town. I am fearful of police now, I am fearful of any car behind me thinking it could be him following me in retaliation. He has taken away my security.
Due to the fact that the DA is not taking this case, I feel that this will happen again. Mr. Lynn received no punishment and is able to continue behaving in this manner while representing the city of Norman as an elected official. Please be careful if you disagree with his opinion and know with whom you are working and associating.
Very distressed and concerned citizen,