VALLEJO (KPIX) — Two weeks before election day, the race for mayor in the city of Vallejo is in an uproar as shocking allegations about domestic abuse have surfaced regarding one of the leading candidates.
Hakeem Brown won a seat on the Vallejo city council in 2018 and has been considered one of the front runners in the 2020 mayoral race. At a protest rally at City Hall Sunday morning, the outgoing mayor, Bob Sampayan, said they had heard Brown had had run-ins with the law in his past.
“But we never heard of the severity of the domestic violence,” Sampayan said.
A local news outlet called Open Vallejo released court documents showing that Hakeem served four years in prison for three felonies including assaulting his wife in 2002, which he recently described on his website as a “scuffle with a domestic partner.”
She reportedly testified she was pregnant at the time of the assault.
In 2012, he was in court again, accused of abusing another woman named Chana Brown, also identified as his wife.
Documents from the preliminary hearing allege that Hakeem Brown imposed a set of “rules of marriage” for Chana to follow which included, “Do what he tells me to do.” “Don’t tell people our personal business,” and “Cannot talk to any other man.”
It also said she must be submissive to her husband and trust his decisions, saying “I cannot have an opinion.”
Ultimately, in the case, Hakeem pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of violating a restraining order and was sentenced to probation.
Chana was murdered earlier this year by another man she had been dating and, on Sunday, her family shared a statement with the protesters: “Abusers count on the fact that their victims will be too scared to share their story, too frightened to press charges … “Abusers also count on the fact that when brave women do step forward, there’s a segment of people that will minimize her voice, question her motivations and reduce her to ‘a domestic scuffle’ or a ‘2012 incident.'”
On his personal webpage, Hakeem Brown acknowledged he had not disclosed details of his past, saying he was not proud of his past behavior, did not like the man he was 20 years ago and has worked hard to be a better person.
Mayor Sampayan says Brown’s behavior continues to be disturbing.
“Not only have I been the brunt of his anger recently but other people have been the brunt of his anger,” Sampayan said. “And his anger is extremely high and he’s very hair-triggered.”
As a result of these revelations, endorsements of Brown have been withdrawn by both the Chamber of Commerce and Assemblyman Tim Grayson. A growing sense of outrage has led to a demand for his recall from the council.
Councilman Brown’s attorney has threatened to sue Open Vallejo for libel but did not specify what was inaccurate in the report. KPIX invited both candidates to speak on camera but got no response.