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City of Williamsburg Mayor Clyde Haulman has been accused of physically assaulting a citizen who spoke at Thursday’s meeting in the Stryker Center.
Haulman, 72, was issued a summons Sunday for assault and battery, a misdemeanor, in relation to the March 10 incident at 412 N. Boundary St. after a complaint was filed with the magistrate, Maj. Greg Riley said.
Gary Shelly, who gave WYDaily permission to publish his name, said in the complaint the mayor approached him after the City Council meeting adjourned, put his face close to Shelly’s and grabbed his tie, yanking it back and forth. Haulman let go of Shelly’s tie on his own, Shelly said in an interview with WYDaily.
Shelly said he went straight to the police station, which is located next door to the Stryker Center, to file a complaint with Riley, who redirected him to the magistrate.
“[Government officials] reach out to citizens to participate, and when one enters a chambers anywhere in this country, they should feel secure. They should feel respected,” Shelly said. “We’re going to have disagreements. That’s the beauty of our system that we can solve these disagreements without resorting to violence. There’s a system to be respected, and the sort of behavior the mayor did toward me is not to be tolerated.”
Haulman redirected inquiries regarding the case to his lawyer, Steve Harris.
Shelly, who is the landlord of several properties with the city, had spoken during the meeting’s open forum period, during which he accused Haulman of being dishonest and unresponsive to his complaints – a criticism he has repeated during City Council meetings for years.
Shelly’s complaints stem from his displeasure with what he deems a lack of transparency when the city loaned money to the Williamsburg Redevelopment and Housing Authority to buy a residence on 110 Harrison Ave.
In recent years, Shelly has added to his statements before council the criticism that Haulman and other city officials have been unresponsive to his concerns that city employees violated tenants’ privacy during property inspections.
After Shelly’s comments on March 10, Haulman thanked him for his “fantasy world.” The mayor adjourned the meeting moments later.
“It was an unfortunate event. I’m really more concerned with the other issues I’ve been bringing up and the lack of response I have received from the mayor,” Shelly said on Monday. “I’m concerned less about the assault.”
Riley referred further questions to Williamsburg-James City County Commonwealth’s Attorney Nate Green, who said he was not able to disclose the facts of the incident before case has been tried.
Clarification: Gary Shelly accused Mayor Clyde Haulman of being dishonest but did not explicitly call him a liar.