Councilman Willis Threatens Citizen during Committee Meeting (UPDATE 1)
(APN) ATLANTA — At the Tuesday, October 30, 2012 Public Safety/Legal Administration Cmte Meeting of the City Council of Atlanta, Councilman Lamar Willis (Post 3-at-large), threatened Ron Shakir, a Southwest Atlanta activist and one of the few citizens who regularly speaks at City Council meetings.
Willis–who is facing challenger Shelitha Robertson in the 2013 election, Atlanta Progressive News can reveal–has engaged in a regular pattern of verbally attacking members of the public and city staff during at least the last three years.
“Don’t say another word to me. Don’t say a word directly to me, don’t do it. Because I will be removed from office,” Willis said to Shakir towards the end of his remarks, apparently implying that if Shakir said another word that he would physically attack Shakir, which would further result in Willis presumably being removed from office.
“You will not disrespect me in a public space. So you need to figure out who you are, because I know whose I am, and I know how to deal with people who disrespect who I am,” Willis said at the end of his remarks.
Willis was upset because Shakir generally said that Willis, who is Black, is racist towards Black people who are less wealthy or educated.
“I don’t challenge you when you split verbs. I don’t challenge you when you make up words,” Willis advised Shakir.
After attacking Shakir for his grammar, he then addressed a point Shakir made in his earlier remarks, where he claimed that Willis was trying to get rid of Black street vendors in the City of Atlanta because, according to Shakir, Willis looks down upon them for their lack of higher education.
“I have no affinity for or against anybody with or without a degree. I have no problem with anyone who doesn’t have a degree,” Willis said.
Willis also attacked Shakir for his ongoing regular attendance at City Council meetings, with no regard to the sacrifice of personal time and resources that it requires of citizens to attend such meetings.
“So now, once you figure out what you need to do with the rest of your life besides sit in a Cmte Meeting, then we can have another conversation,” Willis said.
“But if you want to have a conversation with me that’s less than appropriate, do it off camera in a space where we can have a real conversation man to man,” Willis said.
“When would be a good time?” Shakir asked.
“You tell me when,” Willis said.
“When you get off this Cmte,” Shakir said.
“You’re absolutely right, and I’ll make sure the police follow us so they can lock you up for the criminal acts that you continue to perpetuate when you make threats, cause I tell you I keep promises,” Willis said.
It is not clear what threats Shakir has ever made, or what criminal acts Shakir has ever undertaken.
Incidentally, Willis does not, in fact, “keep promises.” Willis threatened APN with a libel lawsuit in September, and has failed to file one.
Also, it is not immediately clear how Shakir is supposed to have a man-to-man conversation with Willis, seeing as how Willis instructed him, “Don’t say another word to me.”
“When you attack me personally, believe me I understand how to do the same,” Willis said.
“I sit here and listen to you, allow you to espouse the craziness that you espouse every day and every week that you come up here,” Willis said.
This is not the first time Willis has verbally attacked someone at a Cmte Meeting. Previously, Willis attacked William Perry of Common Cause Georgia. In addition, Willis launched so many false accusations at the City’s Public Defender, that she fainted on the floor right there at the podium.
CLARIFICATION: An earlier version of this article presumed that Willis was using a slang word when he said, “I know whose I am.” APN reported that Willis had said, “I know whoz I am,” in an apparent attempt to be ironic, seeing as how he was attacking Shakir for allegedly splitting verbs and making up words. Two APN readers contacted APN to suggest that Willis was likely making a religious statement, “I know whose I am,” [that is, God’s]. However, it simply did not occur to APN that Willis could possibly have been saying he belongs to God at the same time that he threatened and publicly ridiculed a member of the public.