Take a look at this video of Tuesday night’s Newark City Council meeting, which broke out in chaos when opponents of Mayor Cory Booker rushed the stage and shut down the proceedings. The chaos ended after police used pepper spray to calm things down. They wound up arresting Rahaman Muhammad, president of SEIU’s 617 local, who was charged with assault, resisting arrest and inciting a riot.
The key moment comes at about 2:30 into this video, when Muhammad is storming the stage. The woman in red who is knocked onto her back is Shanique Davis Speight, an ally of the power broker Steve Adubato Sr. It was her appointment to fill a vacant seat on the council that sparked the ruckus.
To us, this looks like thuggery. It’s hard to tell if Muhammad knocks her down deliberately or by accident as he struggles to escape the grip of a police officer. But either way, it seems clear he is making a physically threatening approach toward her, as her grade-school son stands by.
Booker cast the key vote to appoint Speight, a surprise for a guy who rarely attends council meetings but did so Tuesday night, apparently so that a quorum could be achieved to make the appointment. Booker’s opponents on the council had sought to fill the seat with John James, the son of former Mayor Sharpe James.