Sausalito council member's slap starts a fight

Sausalito council members
September 26, 2011 11:54:13 PM PDT
A slap on the hand could lead to criminal charges in Sausalito. It all started with a shush at a city council meeting and now the police are involved.

Longtime Sausalito residents say back in 2000, a city councilmember actually spit on an audience member. They say the meetings have been very contentious ever since, so this comes as no surprise.

"I would love to have an apology," said Sausalito City Councilmember Carolyn Ford.

Ford wants a little more than just an apology. Video of last Tuesday's city council meeting shows the hit.

"So I held up my hand and said 'Shhh...' and I put my hand back down and the next thing I knew, Vice Mayor Kelly had hit it and hit it hard. It was meant to hurt," said Ford.

The exchange went downhill from there.

"He said, 'Don't put your hand on my side of the table.' I said, 'You have sunk to a new low,'" said Ford.

"You can't behave like an infant and you can't slap people for putting their finger on my desk. It's like, 'You ate my cookie and I'm going to punish you,'" said resident Bob Zadek.

Zadek is a long time resident whose reaction was shared by many who say the meetings are often contentious, but never violent.

"I think it's ridiculous. I mean men are out there losing their lives and they're in there slapping one another," said resident Barbara Knowles.

ABC7 caught Mayor Herb Weiner coming out of the post office and wanted to ask him the reason for the confrontation, but he just hurried away, too busy to talk. We waited for Vice Mayor Kelly to finish a housing meeting to ask him why he felt it necessary to hit Ford.

He told us he'd only comment at Tuesday's council meeting. He didn't comment on the complaint of battery that Ford has now filed with police. Ford told us she waited a week for an apology, then acted.

Ford says she wants the police complaint of battery to warn Kelly and others to be more respectful; she is already moving her council seat.

"I just want to be assured that we have civility on our city council," said Ford.

Police Chief Jennifer Tejada says she has no choice but to present the charge to the DA.

"We interview all the parties and then we forward the report to the District Attorney's office and the decision to prosecute or not lies with the District Attorney," said Tejada.

Tejada said she will present the case to the District Attorney Tuesday morning. The District Attorney will then decide whether or not to charge Kelly with misdemeanor battery.


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