Flint, MI – A Flint city councilman who was voted out of a city council meeting on Wednesday was led away in handcuffs after he refused to leave unless police arrested him.
The chaos erupted approximately one hour into the Flint City Council’s special meeting, after Councilman Eric Mays repeatedly got into arguments with his fellow council members and interrupted proceedings with loud outbursts, MLive reported.
Mays stormed out of the meeting at one point, but returned a short while later.
His boisterous antics were so loud, his microphone was ultimately shut off.
Before the vote to remove him, City Council President Monica Galloway said that Mays also verbally assaulted her as she was trying to leave a different special council meeting on Monday night.
“I am asking my colleagues to support me in not making this a hostile environment,” Galloway said, just before a motion was made to remove Mays.
It was the fourth time that the council had removed him from a meeting for disruptive behavior this year.
“You can cuff me and take me out,” Councilman Eric Mays declared after the vote, according to MLive. “I’m ready to go.”
Mays continued refusing to leave voluntarily even when Flint police asked him if he was sure the only way he would go was if he was under arrest.
“Yes, I’m sure,” the councilmen told them. “I’m positive.”
Officers ultimately arrested Mays on a disorderly conduct charge, WEYI reported.
As he was being escorted out of council chambers, Mays claimed that he was being treated differently than the rest of the council members, and that he planned to find himself a “good civil rights lawyer, MLive reported.
He was transported to the Genesee County jail, where he was ticketed and released.
Mays complained that he was being victimized by the council.
“They’re abusing the rules and taking it out on me for trying to speak my voice and that’s unacceptable,” he told MLive. “My ward knows me as the voice of the ward. My ward knows me as a fighter for human and civil rights and freedom of speech!”
“This is the best way to represent the citizens of the First Ward,” he added. “I’ll see if the citizens of the First Ward stand behind me.”
After Mays’ arrest, the city council voted 7-to-1 to ban him from attending meetings for a 30-day period, MLive reported.
Mays claimed that the motion to remove him and the subsequent decision to suspend him were both done illegally.
“I don’t see that nowhere in the rules,” he told MLive.
On Thursday, Mays told WEYI that the council’s action against him was “bogus,” and that he was considering attending next week’s city council meeting despite the censure.
City Councilwoman Eva Worthing said that the council was done “playing this game” with Mays, MLive reported.
“He seems to learn nothing from being removed,” Councilwoman Kate Fields added. “He seems to learn nothing from his behaviors so I think the consequences have not been made clear to him.”
Mays said he also planned to speak with an attorney about pressing charges against Mayor Sheldon Neeley’s deputy chief of staff, DuVarl Murdock, due to a physical altercation that took place between them on Feb. 5.
The confrontation occurred at Rube’s Bar & Grill after Mays stormed out of another city council meeting WJRT reported.
Mays admitted that he swore at Murdock, laughed at him, and taunted him, and claimed that Murdock subsequently attacked him.
“I said something he didn’t like, and then he really got me. He got me good,” Mays told WJRT. “I was slammed and hit the floor hard, and I bruised my pelvic and neck injuries, and scrapes.”
But Neely’s office said that the situation played out much differently.
“Murdock says Mays unleashed a series of insults and threats of violence at him, including, ‘I’m going to whoop your -ss.’ Mays then approached Murdock in a hostile fashion and Murdock defended himself,” the mayor’s office said in a press release.
Murdock also filed a criminal complaint against the city councilman.
“They keep making big public mistakes and every time they move on me it seems to backfire, because of a lack of knowledge of understanding from some folks trying to be too much too fast,” Mays told WEYI on Thursday.
Councilman Santino Guerra said that the council did nothing wrong by censuring Mays, and that it is prepared for his potential lawsuit.
“There was no violation to the charter and what happened was based on his own actions,” Guerra told WEYI. “Whatever the court requires us to do…I will follow it if he is being honest with the judge if it gets that far. If not, I just hope that he doesn’t bring this and waste more taxpayer dollars.”
But according to the city charger, the city council is required to give public notice regarding the potential ban of a council member at least two weeks in advance, WJRT reported.
“You are six or seven legislators and don’t know the rules of public notice and public hearings and processes to enact rules,” Mays said after his arrest. “I wouldn’t try to zero in on me. I would just try to learn and be polite and do it the right way.”
“If you kick the dog, I’m gonna growl and bark,” he added. “If you cut me, don’t tell me how to bleed.”
Mays said he hoped his fellow council members can learn from him, and said his passion and aggressiveness were why he was elected for the position.
“I use that voice because I’ve got a distinct voice. It’s loud, it’s heavy, and it’s deep,” he told WJRT. “If God give me a strong, deep voice, I don’t think God or the residents that elected me want me to be quiet… I’ve been shaking and moving things in a positive direction.”