Sausalito City Council Hand Slap Prompts Assault Charges

SAUSALITO (CBS 5) – A Sausalito councilwoman has accused a male colleague of assault after the man slapped her hand during a contentious council meeting, an incident caught on video.

Meanwhile another city councilwoman said the incident is part of a pattern of belittling treatment of women on the council by their male colleagues.

Councilmember Carolyn Ford said she was trying to hear the public works director’s report on dredging at the Sausalito city council’s last meeting two weeks ago, but two colleagues were talking.

She appears on the video raising her hand while telling Vice Mayor Mike Kelly, sitting next to her, to shush. Kelly responded by slapping the top of Ford’s hand, saying, “Don’t shush me.”

“Don’t hit me,” responded Ford.

“Don’t put your hand on my side of the table,” countered Kelly.

Ten days later, Ford filed assault charges against Kelly.

“This has crosssed over a personal boundary of mine,” said Ford. “I don’t think any person should hit another person.”

Ford said despite team building workshops, the three men on the council – Kelly, Mayor Herb Weiner, and Councilmember Jonathan Leone – have been more than rude to their female colleagues and the incident follows a pattern of heckling and poor treatment.

Fellow councilmember Linda Pfeiffer agreed with Ford. “There’s been a history of verbal abuse – heckling, belittlement – from the start. She is courageous to take a stand and speak out,” said Pfeiffer

Police say their investigation will determine whether to give the case to the district attorney.

The DA’s office said if it prosecutes the matter as a misdemeanor battery case, conviction would carry a maximum six months in jail or maximum $1,000 fine.

But Ford says she’d consider dropping the charges. “An apology would be very nice. I would have to be assured that this kind of abuse would stop.”

Mayor Weiner declined to talk about the matter saying it was under investigation. Vice Mayor Kelly did not return phone calls or email.

Tuesday night’s council meeting was to be the first since the hand slapping incident.

Ford has asked to have her seat moved. She will be sitting in the second seat, between Pfeifer and Mayor Weiner.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

  • Dawg

    “Don’t put your hand on my side of the table.” Seems to me that children are running the city counsel.

    • Stormy

      Mommie! Carolyn put her hand on my side of the table!

  • Miranda

    Preschoolers are put on a time out chair for hitting or slapping. Adults do not hit another person. And for a man to think it is ok to slap a woman, is unbelievable. The men and women of Sausalito need to show up for this counsil meeting and express thier expectations of adult behavior.

  • Choice

    The apology should be shown on camera too.

  • amused bystander

    It seems manners have already departed the elder generation. What kind of man slaps a woman? Doesn’t bode well for the future.

    • DirkaDirka

      Been going on forever, think its going to stop now?

  • CMMV

    i think they both need a time-out for behaving like repulicans.

    • Marla Benson

      I just think politicians period think that it is okay to behave in any manner they see fit.

  • Don't make me stop the car

    Unbelievable. I guess they don’t they realize they are acting like 3 year olds. I think we’ve all seen children better behaved than this group. They should be embarrassed but I have a feeling they are not. Hey, Sausalito Counsel: GROW UP! You should be setting an example for the rest of us!! IF you can’t behave like an adult then you should resign. If you can’t play well with others then stay at home.

    How sad.

  • Michelle

    Good for Councilwoman Ford for drawing that line in the sand. What a nasty, churlish man the vice-mayor is. Not only did he talk out of turn (no respect shown to the speaker, the citizens or the other council members that wanted to hear what the speaker was saying) but when shushed he HITS??? Not only does he hit her but then says, “don’t you shush me” in a very belligerent manner. One wonders what behavior Mike Kelly is capable of when the cameras aren’t rolling and there is no audience. It is not her fault that she has to go so far as filing an assault charge. It is squarely his fault as this could hardly be the first time he’s misbehaved. It sure better be the last.

  • Marla Benson

    Cavemen Claimed space

    Council woman ford should follow through with the charges. There is no excuse for being in a position of influence and behaving that way.

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    […] still deciding whether Sausalito City Councilman and Vice-Mayor Michael Kelly will be charged with assaulting Councilwoman Carolyn Ford at a Sept. 13 Council […]

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    […] Apparently assault between domestic total is now ‘a thing.’ Just opposite a Golden Gate, Sausalito City Councilwoman Carolyn Ford is dire charges opposite Vice Mayor Mike Kelly, who apparently slapped her palm both since 1) she told him to “shush” and 2) since it was on his side of a table. The whole thing is on video! […]

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