Richmond Vice Mayor Jovanka Beckles was embroiled in a number of dramas at Tuesday’s council meeting, the last ending with calls to police.
After the meeting, most of which was spent discussing a troubling budget deficit, Beckles had someone call police — and also phoned Police Chief Chris Magnus directly — to ask to be escorted to her car because she said she feared for her safety, according to the The West County Times.
Rev. Wesley Ellis and Rev. Kenneth Davis, the men Beckles says she feared following an argument, say the councilwoman was the aggressor.
“There was no evidence of criminal conduct, so there was no report,” Magnus told the Times, adding that various combatants wanted “reports filed against each other.”
But drama involving Beckles began long before the argument.
Emails circulated Wednesday morning offer more insight into what happened. In the middle of the council’s budget discussion, Beckles took to her iPad to respond to a public member’s email about her proposal to ban public members who disrupt meetings for six months. She is particularly targeting a few residents who have reportedly hurled anti-gay slurs at her in the past.
Here’s the email from public member Charles Smith, who opposes Beckles’ proposed ban, that was sent to all councilmembers before the meeting:
And this is the email response Beckles reportedly sent to Smith, who passed along the email to the Richmond Standard.
Smith then wrote an email to Councilmember Nat Bates, a critic of Beckles, saying “FYI! While you folks are discussing the budget, Ms. Beckles is writing an inflammatory letter to me.”
The council meeting reportedly ended with Beckles denouncing Councilman Jim Rogers over a vote on an agenda item. Then, after talking to media outlets that appeared more interested in her ban proposal than the city’s budget shortfall, Beckles reportedly had it out with the reverends over the same agenda item Beckles was angry with Rogers about – the North Richmond Waste and Recovery Mitigation Fee Expenditure Plan.
“Beckles was hysterical last night,” Davis told the Times. “She came and interrupted our conversation to talk crazy to me, so I let her know what I thought about her legislative performance.”
Bates, who said he witnessed the dispute, said Beckles and the reverend got in each others’ face. Public members and at least one television news crew also witnessed the dispute, Bates said. Beckles called the reverends “ignorant black people,” Bates said, and also was heard hollering, “Get the F—k out of my face.”
“The lady has gone bananas,” Bates said.
Beckles at one point tried to get someone to call police. She told the Times she was reduced to tears after Councilmember Corky Booze, another Beckles critic, tried to stop a security guard from calling cops, calling Booze an intimidating 300-pound councilmember.
Booze said the reverends did nothing wrong and also denied being 300 pounds.
It wasn’t the first time Beckles hurled the F-word in public.
We first reported the irony of Beckles wanting heckling residents to be suspended from attending council meetings at the same time as she defended an episode in council chambers in which she cursed out Corky Booze.
Beckles later denied saying “F— You” to Booze in council chambers. The following day, she used Facebook to clarify her statement. She said she instead called him an “effing idiot.”
When the vice mayor first introduced her proposal to ban public members she stated: “As a mental health professional, I have serious concerns about the bad behavior that we are modeling for young people and our community.”
On Wednesday she admitted on Facebook to losing her temper “after being practically assaulted by their mob mentality.”
“They are hateful, miserable, hostile people,” she added, according to the Times. “It saddens me deeply.”
Bates said that while he does not condone hate speech, Beckles as a politician should be held to a higher standard than citizens.
Both Bates and Beckles are up for reelection in November.
Crime | Oct 20, 2015
A 31-year-old Richmond woman was sentenced to 21 years in state prison Tuesday for fatally shooting a 16-year-old ex-boyfriend who …
Jobs | Jan 26, 2016
Starting Feb. 1, Chevron will begin accepting applications for Operator Trainee positions at the Richmond Refinery, the company announced today. …
Crime | Nov 18, 2015
The woman pictured is wanted by police in connection with the violent robbery of an El Cerrito High student on …
Crime | Jul 14, 2015
A man was killed and a 17-year-old critically injured after shots rang out at the Monterey Pines Apartments complex in …
Crime | Sep 6, 2016
The community is mourning the deaths of an 18-year-old and her unborn child following a shooting in San Pablo Monday …
Recent News | Feb 7, 2014
Although the US Postal Service says only a small percentage of packages end up lost or delayed at its national …