Appointment By Newark Mayor, Allies Leads To Melee In City Council Chambers

Booker's Attempt To Fill Councilman Payne's Seat Leads To Utter Chaos

NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — An appointment to a vacant City Council seat in Newark led to a melee Tuesday in council chambers that prompted police to use pepper spray on some spectators.

One person was arrested, 1010 WINS reported.

The melee broke out when Mayor Cory Booker and his allies in the City Council appointed Shanique Davis Speight to take over the seat vacated by Councilman Donald Payne Jr.

Booker made the appointment using a state statute that permits him to cast a vote without a quorum, leading to outrage from some council members, according to

Council members Ras Baraka, Darrin Sharif and Mildred Crump came down from the dais when Councilman Anibal Ramos tried to rush through confirmation for Speight, reported.

As Speight prepared to be sworn in, a crowd that had already grown unruly stormed the council dais and prompted police to set up a barrier, reported. Police pepper-sprayed a group of people in the chambers, including union leader Rahaman Muhammad, the publication reported.

At least one person was reportedly taken to a hospital.

After the melee, the chambers were cleared, and several council members were escorted out by police, reported.

Speight was later sworn in during a private ceremony.

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