CHICAGO — The Chicago City Council met Tuesday to consider bringing up censuring Mayor Brandon Johnson’s former council floor leader over a case of alleged bullying last week.
Last Thursday, Ald. Ray Lopez (15th Ward) said he had to stand between Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th Ward), the former floor leader, and Ald. Emma Mitts (37th Ward) so Mitts could enter the chamber to vote on an advisory referendum that would ask Chicago voters to decide if the city should remain a sanctuary city.
The former floor leader was trying to prevent the chamber from having enough elected leaders to conduct a meeting legally.
“It’s completely unacceptable to grab, restrain and block one of our colleagues and physically restrain and block to do her dully elected job,” Lopez said.
On Monday, Ramirez-Rosa resigned his two leadership positions and issued an apology saying, “I feel awful about everything that happened. I have reached out to my colleagues to apologize directly and seek to make amends. I made mistakes, and I learned valuable lessons. I take full responsibility for what I’ve done.”
Progressive leaders in the community and city council support with Ramirez-Rosa and say Lopez’s lied about the details surrounding what happened Thursday.
The Black Caucus issued an updated statement Tuesday that said in part, ” … we are well pleased and grateful with the tone, temperament, and response from Mayor Johnson in bringing closure to this issue involving our beloved and well-respected colleague, Alderwoman Emma Mitts. … In addition, as a caucus, we stand firm in our condemnation of Alderman Ramirez-Rosa’s actions of bullying, physical and verbal harassment against Alderwoman Mitts.”
The mayor also agrees with Ramirez-Rosa’s decision to resign his leadership posts as floor leader and a committee chair.
“I felt like I was back in the south,” MItts said. “He said ‘You know you shouldn’t be in here.’ I said, ‘Well, why are you bothering me?’ He says, ‘Because the rest of your colleagues are idiots.”
Mitts said it was more “you can’t go into this meeting” and not manhandling.
“It was unbecoming of anyone who’s elected to represent people,” Mitts said.
Ramirez-Rosa is also accused of threatening to block zoning for other council members.
“I also apologize to Alderwoman Nicole Lee, Alderman Felix Cardona, Alderman Chris Taliaferro, Alderman Desmond Yancy for my disrespectful words and actions, I’m deeply sorry.” Ramirez-Rosa said.
When a handful of people in the gallery booed, Mitts walked over to Ramirez-Rosa and hugged him.
A vote to censure Ramirez-Rosa failed. Johnson cast the deciding vote to save his ally from rebuke.
Before Tuesday’s regular city council meeting, more fireworks went off when the rule committee convened. But the chairwoman put the meeting on hold after angry spectators shouted down members debating welcoming migrants.