(VIDEO) KTVU: Richmond vice mayor under fire for shouting expletive during tirade

blogimage.jpgRICHMOND, Calif. — Some Richmond residents were calling for Vice Mayor Jovanka Beckles to step down Thursday after a recent heated exchange and email between her and some community members.

KTVU obtained cell phone videos from people who recorded a confrontation between Beckles and community activist Rev. Kenneth Davis, following the July 1st City Council meeting. The video shows Beckles asking security guards to call police and get Davis and others "out of my [expletive] face".

"You're a bunch of bullies. You're a bunch of women abusers," Beckles says on one video.

"Using profane language and cursing, that's very inappropriate," said Pamela Bilbo, a Richmond resident who was present at the time of the clash."

"She's Vice-Mayor and this is something that's intolerable. We just take offense to this," Reverend Kenneth Davis told KTVU Thursday.

Davis said Beckles also called him and others "ignorant."

They said the behavior ironically came the same night Beckles had proposed an ordinance stating that people disrupting City Council meetings should be banned for 6 months from attending.

One resident Charles Smith opposed the proposal and sent Beckles an email about preserving free speech. He told KTVU that he couldn't believe her reply.

"I was shocked. It was very inflammatory and it opened up with some racist remarks," Smith said.

Smith showed us Beckles' email reply, which began talking about two council members:

"Good to know that if they were calling Nat and Corky scum bag N-----s who deserve to die, you'd be defending that too, right? I doubt it. But it's okay since it's only Queer people that's being attacked. Good for you, you scum bag Cr----!* All you Cr----'s deserve to die! *

*stated for effect only*

My God, that feels so awful to even write for effect."

"That's a negative term toward white people," Smith told KTVU Thursday, "You don't expect to get a letter like that, an email like that from someone on the City Council."

Beckles said she was making a point about free speech, using the same words that someone else had used about gay people at a City Council meeting. She said she was questioning whether Smith's belief in free speech extended to remarks made by another citizen that, "Gay people are scum. Gay people are lower than animals and they all deserve to die."

As for the video and confrontation after the meeting, she says she felt cornered and bullied by Davis and others at the time when she uttered the expletive.

"I believe that anyone would understand my reaction to feeling threatened. And I felt threatened by these two men." Beckles told KTVU.

She also points to another part of the video where Davis talks about her dying.

"You should die," Davis is heard saying, "You should die." He appears to be responding to Beckles' comment that he was the reason young people were dying in Richmond.

Beckles says the video also showed Davis making homophobic remarks.

"I said get out of my face and they said 'You know what you do with your face,'" Beckles told KTVU.

Both Beckles and Davis are running for City Council seats in the upcoming election. Each accuses the other of being unfit for the position.

The next City Council meeting is scheduled for July 15th.

By Jana Katsuyama


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