Fight between neighbors prompts hate crime charge

Monday, May 27, 2013 | 12:27 p.m. CDT; updated 12:38 p.m. CDT, Monday, May 27, 2013

COLUMBIA — A Columbia woman was arrested Sunday afternoon on suspicion of committing a hate crime during a fight with neighbors.

The incident took place in the 700 block of Demaret Drive in northeast Columbia. Boone County Sheriff's Department Sgt. Lance Robbins described the situation as "chaotic and not necessarily racially motivated."

But it ended in the arrest of  Tina Pugsley, 39, who was accused of making racial slurs as she swung a small stick at her neighbors, Robbins said. The suspect's neighbors are black.

Det. Tom O'Sullivan described Demaret Drive as "an ongoing, 24/7 episode of 'The Jerry Springer Show.'"

"Some of my best people were there" responding to the incident, Robbins said. "They did the best they could."

Pugsley was also arrested on suspicion of unlawful use of a weapon and third-degree assault. Her bail was set at $15,000. She posted bond and was released from the Boone County Jail.

Pugsley's husband, Ralph Pugsley, contacted the department to dispute the charges, Robbins said. Ralph Pugsley could not be reached.

Supervising editor is Katherine Reed.

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