Council member Michael Jackson said colleague Luis Velez was talking over him

Jackson and Velez have a history of animosity

PATERSON — All that was missing was Vince McMahon, folding chairs and a squared circle.

A special City Council meeting looked like a WWE match Tuesday night after two members nearly came to blows.

During a meeting called to discuss several legal matters, Councilman Michael Jackson looked to his left at council Vice President Luis Velez and asked council President Alex Mendez to "shut him up before I go over and shut him up myself."

The moment was caught on video posted by council candidate Sebastian Mejia on his Facebook page.

After Mendez begins to admonish members, Jackson walks behind the dais and stops in front of Velez's chair to stare at his fellow council member in an intimidating fashion.

A police officer on duty at the meeting walked over to Jackson and tried to guide him away from Velez by putting his hand on Jackson's shoulder.

As cries of "Mike" filled the chamber, Jackson pushed the officer forward bringing two more officers to move him away from Velez.

Mendez called for a five-minute break, which turned into a suspension of the meeting as Velez spoke and gestured at Jackson. Velez was not miked and was inaudible on the video.

Jackson got back up and walked back toward Velez, shoving another member out of the way. Velez got up and walked toward the chamber exit as Jackson continued walking in the same direction.

Paterson at a shooting in the area of Van Houten Street and Cianci Street 10/1/23
Jat a shooting in the area of Van Houten Street and Cianci Street 10/1/23 (RLS Metro Breaking News)

Long time bad blood

Jackson told he was offended by Velez making light of a weekend shooting that killed his cousin, Mary Taylor, 22, Sunday night in the area of Van Houten and Cianci streets.

Velez said he didn't stand up in order to avoid a physical confrontation with Jackson.

Mendez told that the next council meeting will be virtual to constrain behavior he called "ugly."

In true WWE fashion, Valez and Jackson have had bad blood for a long time and exchanged insults and barbs during previous meetings.  Velez filed charges against Jackson in May after an argument in the back of the meeting room, according to  Jackson threatened to "knock your teeth out," according to Velez.

In March, Velez called for Jackson to resign after a near fight during a meeting with Chief Financial Officer Javier Silva, according to TAP into Paterson.

Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh Wednesday afternoon called for Jackson's resignation.

"Councilman Jackson's behavior is deeply disturbing and utterly unacceptable. No one in City Hall should be subjected to intimidation or violence. His actions are almost incomprehensible. Paterson deserves representatives who uphold values of respect, professionalism, and civility. Jackson's consistent disregard for these values undermines our community's trust in its elected officials."

He is also working with the council on potential censure or other disciplinary actions.

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