The Franklin County clerk was arrested in Georgia following the University of Kentucky's football game over the weekend.
According to an Athens-Clarke County Police Department report, Jeff Hancock, 43, tried to pick a fight with staff at a bar called 100 Proof in Athens. He was later charged with a misdemeanor count of public intoxication. The incident followed UK's 21-0 loss to Georgia at nearby Sanford Stadium.
On Monday, Hancock told The State Journal that he was mistaken by officers to be a part of a group of other rowdy patrons walking out of the bar and that he was “in the wrong place at the wrong time.” He said he was released soon after law enforcement officials at the jail realized the error. He said he was never put in a holding cell.
“I’m fighting this right now,” Hancock said, adding that he has hired an attorney in Georgia to represent him.
Geof Gilland, a police spokesman, said Tuesday evening that he could not confirm or deny Hancock's claim of mistaken identity but he would check with department leadership on Wednesday.
An Athens-Clarke County police officer who was working off-duty security for bars on Saturday was called to the entrance of 100 Proof, according to the police report.
The officer wrote that he saw Hancock near the bar entrance motioning for an employee of the bar to come over. The police officer asked a witness what was going on and the witness said Hancock had been removed from the bar and “was trying to get the staff to fight him.” The report said Hancock turned away from the officer.
“As he turned, I could see that his balance was not good, he had an unsteady gait, and veered to the right as he was walking,” the officer wrote.
The officer reported that a “strong odor” of alcohol was coming from Hancock and added that he had red, glassy eyes and his speech was slurred. Another employee of 100 Proof bar allegedly told the officer after he put Hancock in a police car that Hancock had been kicked out of 100 Proof earlier because he “squared up at two females” and tried to fight them.
In the car, Hancock told the officer that he was an elected official, according to the police report. The police officer then asked Hancock what position he held, and Hancock said that he was Franklin County’s clerk.
Hancock told The State Journal that he did tell the officer that he was an elected official after he was asked by the officer. Hancock said that he was not offered a Breathalyzer test when he asked for one and that he complied with police.
“Due to Jeffery’s obvious intoxicated state, his attempt to fight customers inside 100 Proof, and his attempt to fight the staff, I arrested and charged Jeffery with public intoxication,” the officer wrote in his report.
Hancock was released around 2 a.m. Sunday from the Clarke County Jail on his own recognizance. The Clarke County Jail’s website said the charge of public intoxication is a misdemeanor.
Hancock was reelected county clerk without opposition in November.