Councilman Sues Flint For $1M After Removal From Meetings For Acts Like Nazi Salute

WWJ News
September 15, 2020 - 12:01 pm
Councilman Eric Mays sues city of Flint for $1M

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(WWJ) A Flint councilman who has been removed from public meetings by police numerous times is suing the city's Mayor Sheldon Neeley, one of Neeley’s top aides, the city attorney, a Flint police officer and fellow council members.

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The basis of the $1 million federal lawsuit is that Councilman Eric Mays believes they’ve violated his constitutional rights by removing him from city Council meetings during outbursts, He also says he was attacked at a bar by the mayor's aide.

City officials told MLive they consider the lawsuit "frivolous" and said they will ask the court to make Mays pay their legal expenses.

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“This frivolous lawsuit is another unfortunate and costly attempt by Councilman Mays to disrupt and distract,” the statement from Flint Director of Communications Marjory Raymer says. "His previous lawsuits already have cost the city tens of thousands of dollars in attorney fees and this lawsuit will waste even more taxpayer money. These are dollars that should go to city services like protecting residents and employees from COVID-19 and providing water payment assistance to residents.

“This is a waste of time and money at a time when we are literally fighting for our lives in the midst of a worldwide pandemic,” the statement says. “Councilman Mays needs to take personal responsibility for his actions...”

Mays has been removed from council meetings seven times since 2012 for outbursts, which he says is improper. Six months ago he was arrested at a meeting when he said the only way they could make him leave was with an arrest. Later, council voted 7 to 1 to ban him from meetings for a month.

Among the reasons for his removal: He performed a Nazi salute at a meeting in January and compared Council President Monica Galloway to Adolf Hitler.

"When you heard me, you heard the people I represent, this is unacceptable," Mays said when he was arrested. "My ward knows me as the voice of the ward, my ward knows me as a fighter for civil rights and freedom of speech." 

He also says Neeley's chief of staff attacked him  and threw him to the floor in a bar on Flint’s west side

The suit has been assigned to a federal magistrate.