Batesburg-Leesville Councilman Steve Cain was found not guilty Monday of assaulting another town leader.
A six-person magistrate court jury took less than 10 minutes to decide his July 13 run-in with Councilman Todd O'Dell did not constitute a misdemeanor.
The verdict came after O'Dell and four other witnesses testified Cain either bumped or shoved O'Dell.
One juror said the contact seemed incidental, not an attempt to harm O'Dell.
Charging Cain with a crime "was bogus," juror James Bond of Lexington said after the verdict. "He was getting railroaded."
Cain said the outcome is a slap at town leaders who "used the town police force as your discipline tool."
But he promised to be "more polished" in disagreements over Town Hall operations.
That change is worth the controversy over the episode, O'Dell said.
Meetings among Town Council members are "much less argumentative," he said. "That's something positive that can come out of this."
The verdict removes a political blemish as Cain runs for mayor and tries to remain a councilman in the Lexington County town of 6,000.
He faces Mayor James Wiszowaty, who wasn't present when the fracas happened.
Cain also faces write-in candidate John Burgess in a bid to remain on Town Council.
The races will be decided at the Nov. 3 ballot. Cain can hold only one post even if elected to both.
O'Dell said he pursued the charge against Cain because "I didn't want his aggressiveness to continue to become something more physical."
Town Police Chief Wallace Oswald said his officers and other staff members outlined what happened and left it to the jury of three men and three women to decide whether the contact amounted to a crime.
"That's our system," he said. "They had a decision to make and did it."