POLITICS

Oshawa City Council Brawl Leads To Assault Charges (VIDEOS)

09/04/2013 07:42 EDT | Updated 11/05/2013 05:12 EST

The first fall meeting of Oshawa city council turned bloody on Tuesday after the mayor asked that several members of the public be removed from the council chamber for being disruptive.

The incident was captured on amateur video as a security guard attempted to grab the arm of a man seated near the back of the room.

In the video, the two men grapple and fall to the floor as a pair of plainclothes officers jump in to arrest the man.

Another video posted on YouTube shows the same guard, as well as a second guard, dragging a different man towards the door of the council chamber.

'Stop assaulting him'

The camera pans away momentarily as a plainclothes officer puts the man in a headlock and pins him to the ground.

The camera operator is repeatedly heard yelling, "stop assaulting him," and later refers to the man as "Dan" outside, as police place the arrested man in the back of a cruiser.

Daniel Hammond, 52, and Bill Steele, 46, are both facing charges for assault and failing to leave the meeting.

"I'm very angry, this is not my city. It doesn't reflect my city," said Oshawa regional and city councillor Tito-Dante Marimpietri.

At a staff appreciation picnic on Wednesday, Oshawa Mayor John Henry said he ordered the removal because some members of the public didn't comply after being asked to quiet down.

"I was just happy we dealt with it the way we did and protected those people in the room including those staff," Henry said.

At last night's meeting council was considering the findings of an investigation by the auditor general that raised concerns that city staff had misled council about a land deal.

At the end of the long meeting council voted to eliminate the auditor general's position by the end of this week.

Marimpietri said he's been in office for a decade and never witnessed a citizen being treated that way for clapping during a meeting.

"Clapping doesn't constitute a violation in which someone has to be choked out, taken down and thrown out of council chambers," he said.

Councillors unaware of police presence

Several councillors told CBC News they weren't made aware ahead of the meeting that plainclothes officers would be in the public gallery.

Durham Regional Police spokesperson David Selby said they don't typically send plainclothes officers to council meetings but decided to last night.

"A uniform presence could actually provoke anger, it could provoke an issue," Selby said. "We didn't want to provoke anything, we didn't even want to have to act, but unfortunately we did act."

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