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CHICAGO - As tempers were flaring over whether council members joining last Thursday’s meeting remotely were actually "in attendance" and by rule able to weigh in on a quorum vote over a referendum that would allow Chicagoans to decide whether the city maintains its "Sanctuary City" status, there was reportedly a physical altercation between Alderpersons Carlos Ramirez-Rosa and Emma Mitts just outside council chambers.
It's an altercation Alderman Raymond Lopez says he witnessed firsthand.
"He was aggressively restraining her," he told FOX 32 Chicago. "Using his body to prevent her from entering chambers."
As a result of the altercation between Ramirez-Rosa and Mitts, the alderman has subsequently resigned from his leadership positions, including his role as Mayor Brandon Johnson’s "Floor Leader."
Too little too late, according to Lopez, who is asking his colleagues in council to remove Ramirez-Rosa for "physical assault and intimidation" – which according to Lopez can lead a member’s expulsion under council rules.
"As far as I’m concerned, stepping down as floor leader or stepping back as zoning chairman isn’t enough," Lopez said. "He has impugned his office and abandoned his oath of office."
"This is about standing up for Emma Mitts, who he (Ramirez-Rosa) felt was in his right to physically assault and withhold her from doing her job. He made a concerted effort with the help of the law department to disenfranchise four African American aldermen from exercising their rights to vote and represent their wards," Lopez added.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday morning a handful of alderpersons led by Anthony Beal are expected to try again to bring a motion to pave the way for a vote on the referendum. The question is, just how powerful is the opposition?
"Mayor Johnson said there are forces of division at work here and he is absolutely correct, unfortunately those forces are within his own office, within his own law department, within his own floor leader, and city council," Lopez said.
FOX 32 reached out to Alderwoman Mitts for comment, but we've yet to hear back.