Councilman Resigns After Allegedly Choking Two Women in a Drunken Rage

Riverside City Councilman John Burnard has resigned from office following an arrest on domestic violence charges earlier this month.

The arrest occurred on July 3 in Lake Havasu, Arizona. A female victim said Burnard got jealous after he witnessed her hugging a male acquaintance and began choking her unconscious during an argument outside a home. Another woman stepped in to help and says Burnard then began choking her too. He was taken into custody on suspicion of two felony counts of aggravated assault and a misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge. Tests revealed he had a blood alcohol level of 0.173.

“Since being elected to the Riverside City Council in 2015, I have faced challenges of a personal nature that have affected both my physical health and my immediate family,” read a statement from the Ward 7 councilman. “For the sake of my family and the improvement of my physical health, I must step down from the city council.”

Burnard has not attended any city meetings since his arrest. His resignation will take effect Aug. 8.

The council has 60 days to appoint a replacement for Burnard unless it wishes to hold a special election. City Councilman and Mayor Pro Tem Mike Gardner expects a recommendation before Aug. 8.

“The city’s focus right now is to ensure that the residents of Ward 7 have continued representation in our local government,” said Riverside spokesman Phil Pitchford. “We wish Councilman Burnard and his family the best.”

The Press Enterprise has a copy of the redacted July 3 police report. You can read the full statement from John Burnard here


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