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‘Hell with You’: Steinberg Defends Comments at Testy City Council Meeting

SACRAMENTO -- It's not a stretch to say Tuesday's Sacramento City Council meeting was not a typical evening at City Hall.

"When you refer to members of the police force as 'the Gestapo,' I find that unacceptable. Period. End of story. You can leave, too. You don't refer to men and women in uniform as members of the Gestapo. Hell with you," Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg shouted at Tuesday's meeting.

Emotions continue to run high, months after the shooting death of Stephon Clark at the hands of Sacramento police officers.

Steinberg says people have every right to express themselves at these meetings, but not with profanity or by being disruptive.

"I think I have a big heart and I'm patient. I'll listen to anybody or anybody's pain for as much time as it takes," Steinberg said. "But there's a difference between people coming and expressing themselves and people who come simply to cause a disruption."

Steinberg even banned someone, Alexander Clark, who he says has been a disruption at meetings for weeks.

"And so I'm going to ask here, publicly, that he not be allowed to come into chambers, where he has disrupted us every single time, for at least the next month," Steinberg told Clark on Tuesday.

The mayor said he would rather not to have to kick people out.

"The last thing I want to do is have to remove people from the city council chambers. But I also have an obligation," Steinberg said. "To make sure that people don't shout out, that they don't use profanity and they act in ways that are civil."

Sonia Lewis, with the Sacramento chapter of Black Lives Matter, tells FOX40 that despite some members being told not to attend council meetings, they will always be present to express their views and disappointment with the city and the mayor.

Steinberg says he didn't consider it civil when someone referred to Sacramento police as the Gestapo, calling into question the police department's policies and procedures surrounding the Stephon Clark shooting.

"I found that offensive. Believe me, criticize the police. I have," the mayor said. "I've called it unacceptable. I'm not trying in any way to stifle or stop people from expressing their heartfelt views. They may have the right to say that, but I have the right to respond, and that's what I did."