The Flint City Council voted unanimously to strip Councilman Eric Mays of his leadership roles this week after he compared Council President Monica Galloway to Hitler and mocked her with the Nazi salute.
“You ain’t got to be like Hitler,” Mays told Galloway at a Jan. 14 meeting.
Galloway insisted she’s no Hitler, but Mays refused to relent.
“You sound like it from where I sit. Like Hitler. What you want me to do?” Mays said as he stomped his foot and jutted his right arm in the air.
Seconds later, he repeated the reference.
“Do you want me to communicate with you like Hitler?” Mays said.
The outlandish behavior drew little response from Galloway at the time, and she simply moved on to other business. But leaders of the city’s Jewish community complained about the reference, and urged city leaders to do something about it, the Detroit Free Press reports.
“We take very seriously anyone who trivializes or minimizes the Holocaust and Hitler and I’m very sad and disappointed — sad that Mr. Mays is either appallingly insensitive or so ignorant that he would make a comparison between the head of the city council and Hitler,” Flint Jewish Confederation Executive Director Steven Low told the Free Press. “It’s appalling, it’s sad, it’s insulting.”
On Monday, city council members voted 6-0 to remove Mays from his leadership roles as council vice president and chairman of the finance committee. Two council members were not present for the vote, MLive reports.
The move came after Galloway repeatedly warned Mays about outbursts during the meeting, and eventually ordered him removed from the chambers. Mays shouted as police escorted him from the meeting.
Once Mays was gone, council members voted to suspend the rules to discuss their colleague.
“I’m suspending the rules because we’re not utilizing the (administration’s) time downstairs. This community needs better than what we’re giving them. Let’s stand up tonight and make a difference,” Councilman Maurice Davis said.
“Our patience has worn thin. Our community is in a dire need for good leadership,” he said. “We need to change and strip Mr. Mays from all leadership positions.”
“I agree we should remove him from his positions so that we can get things done at a reasonable time,” Councilman Santino Guerra said. “This isn’t just better for the council but it’s better for the city of Flint as a whole.”
Mays, of course, sees things differently.
“I’m aggressive, articulate and intelligent. I know who is a snake, an upright person and who is a sellout,” Mays told MLive on Tuesday. “I’m going to continue being effective from my council seat.”
It wasn’t the first time Mays was hauled out of a meeting for being obnoxious. In 2016, Mays was handcuffed and removed from a meeting after ignoring several warnings for being out of order. An officer brought Mays by elevator to the first floor, then released him.
Mays filed a damage claim over the experience, and the city paid him $4,500 for his troubles, the Detroit Free Press reports.