A Georgia mayor is facing a lawsuit from three Black city council members after being accused of making racist remarks when he forgot to turn off a Zoom feed following a recent meeting.
"This whole thing is a damn monkey show," Swainsboro Mayor Charles Schwabe can be heard saying in video from the incident, which was broadcast Tuesday on WRDW-TV in Augusta.
"Council members were trying to vote on what to do with American Rescue Plan funds, their budget and a few other things," the station reported. "The mayor abruptly ended the meeting, saying there weren't enough members to vote. But what he didn't realize is he never ended the Zoom session. So everyone on the call could hear the mayor, city administrator and two council members complaining about the direction their meeting was heading."
City Administrator Al L. Lawson responded to Schwabe's "monkey show" comment by saying: "Oh, you're telling me. I have to live it, Charles. (Of) course, you do, too."
At one point, one of the Black council members can be heard saying, "Mr. Lawson, we still can hear you."
"But Lawson and Schwabe could not hear them," the station reported.
"You know what, Charles: You go to the house and tell them all to kiss your ass," Lawson told Schwabe. "You pull out (of) the (mayor's) race and I'll give you my resignation and tell of them to kiss my ass and go home."
In ending the budget workshop, Schwabe falsely claimed that the council did not have a quorum because two white council members had left. However, the city's three Black council members remained on the Zoom call, which constituted a quorum.
The three Black council members are suing Schwabe for illegally ending the meeting.
Schwabe reportedly is refusing to resign "because of his commitment to the people."
Watch video from the Zoom call and read the Black council members' lawsuit below. Watch WRDW-TV's report here.
The mayor of #swainsboro needs to resign NOW. Al Lawson should be fired. Charles Schwabe calling his city council a… https://t.co/KSI6eOshnA— Atlanta Justice Alliance (@Atlanta Justice Alliance) 1632152084.0