VIDEO: Cory Booker council meeting ends in 'near riot,' pepper spray

Posted By KATE STANTON, UPI.com   |   Nov. 21, 2012 at 11:17 AM   |   Comments

Nov. 21 (UPI) -- Cory Booker's heroic Hurricane Sandy efforts, enthusiastic social media presence and penchant for saving women from burning buildings hasn't completely shielded the energetic mayor from some passionate detractors. A meeting in Newark, N.J. erupted into chaos Tuesday after Booker stepped in to cast a deciding vote to appoint ally Shanique Davis Speight to the city council.

According to the Newark Star Ledger, the mayor can cast votes in the absence of a quorum, which occurred when a councilman supporting Speight's opponent tried to speak, and was not recognized by the acting chair.

The report describes the resulting chaos as a "near-riot," in which residents, led by local union leader Rahaman Muhammad, rushed to the dais and chanted "Cory's gotta go!"

Police restrained the group as they toppled a podium and residents were caught in the rush. When Muhammad would not give way, an officer doused him with pepper spray, along with residents, reporters and at least one other officer.

Booker and his team had apparently planned the rare political maneuver ahead of time, and while his chief of staff emphasized that they had "abided by the rules and guidelines," his opponents' charges of partisan cronyism will no doubt come up in his -- unconfirmed but expected -- gubernatorial bid against Chris Christie.

Writes the Atlantic Wire:

The Republican already have their first ready-made campaign ad. Booker's own constituents turning against losing their minds shady deal to pack the city council with his friends? That's not the image that America has come to expect from its superhero Twitter mayor.

[The Atlantic Wire/Newark Star Ledger)

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