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Protesters call for Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa to resign over bullying allegations

Protesters call for Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa to resign over bullying allegations
Protesters call for Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa to resign over bullying allegations 02:37

CHICAGO (CBS) -- There are new calls for Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th), who serves as Mayor Brandon Johnson's City Council floor leader, to step down, accused of bullying a colleague during a special City Council meeting last week.

The Chicago Aldermanic Black Caucus has accused Ramirez-Rosa of "physical and verbal harassment" of Ald. Emma Mitts (37th) during a meeting on Thursday to discuss a bid to ask voters during the March primary if Chicago should remain a sanctuary city for migrants. In a post on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, Ald. Raymond Lopez (15th) has said Ramirez-Rosa tried to "physically block her" from going into the City Council chamber to vote.

Tempers flared outside of Ramirez-Rosa's ward office in Avondale on Sunday, where a small group of protesters gathered to deliver a few choice words.

"Carlos Ramirez-Rosa is a punk," said Patrick Gibbons, who billed himself as a community activist, but also ran this year as a write-in candidate for alderman in the 31st Ward, and recently dropped a bid to run for 31st Ward Republican committeeman.

Gibbons and other protesters called for Ramirez-Rosa to step down entirely from City Council.

"Total 100% bully. To put your hands on a woman shows a very cowardous attitude what he did," Gibbons said. "He's made himself a total fool, a total moron, alright? It doesn't matter what party you're from. It doesn't matter if you're a Republican. It doesn't matter if you're a Democrat. Touching a woman inappropriately, it's not acceptable."

The Chicago Aldermanic Black Caucus has called Ramirez-Rosa's treatment of Mitts "unprofessional and unbecoming of his role," and has said he should resign as the mayor's floor leader and as chairman of the City Council Zoning Committee for "bullying" Mitts.

The caucus also has demanded Ramirez-Rosa apologize publicly to Mitts, the longest-serving woman on City Council, for is "blatant mistreatment and disrespect."

Five Latino aldermen on Sunday also called on Johnson to demand Ramirez-Rosa resign as floor leader and zoning committee chair.

Lopez joined Alds. Peter Chico (10th), Silvana Tabares (23rd), Felix Cardona (31st), and Gilbert Villegas (36th) in threatening to move to have Ramirez-Rosa expelled from City Council "if Mayor Johnson is unwilling to hold the head of his leadership team accountable for such indefensible actions.

The incident happened minutes before a heated vote related to Chicago's sanctuary city status on Thursday. Ramirez-Rosa opposes a proposal to put a referendum on the March ballot, asking voters if Chicago should keep its sanctuary city status, and was trying to prevent the measure's supporters from gaining a quorum to vote on the proposal.

The incident happened in the City Council's antechamber, away from the cameras that record official meetings.

"We don't feel that he can run our city, or even help with the immigrants, calling to put up tents, having them in this cold below weather in Chicago. So that's also a slap in the face," said Rev. Anthony Wilson, who ran as a Republican for an Illinois Senate seat last year in a district on the far South Side and far south suburbs.

Protesters who gathered outside Ramirez-Rosa's office also advocated against the city's plans to set up winterized tent camps for migrants.

"Today we all stand in solidarity, saying no tents in Chicago. Put them in a place where it's safe," Wilson said.

A resident in Ramirez-Rosa's ward said he thinks the alderman should apologize, but shouldn't resign.

"I think he's a great alderman, and I'd vote for him again, no problem. I mean, I do think he probably should apologize," Lou Hinkhouse said.

Mitts has said she plans to release a statement on the incident on Monday. Ramirez-Rosa and the mayor's office both have not responded to several requests for comment.

Supporters of a bid to ask voters about Chicago's sanctuary city status will try to resume that debate on Tuesday.

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