Columbia Heights City Council censures member over racist phone call
The Columbia Heights City Council voted Wednesday night to formally censure a member who has been embroiled in controversy after an investigation found she made an offensive phone call to a City Council candidate.
Councilmember KT Jacobs is accused of calling and berating 26-year-old Justice Spriggs, who is running for City Council.
At a special City Council meeting last month, the outside firm Red Cedar Consulting presented the report of its investigation, which found Jacobs had called Spriggs on July 24. Days later, Jacobs falsely claimed on social media that a family member had placed the call.
During that call, Jacobs allegedly questioned whether Spriggs was old enough to run for office and asked him if he was “really biracial” and whether he had been raised in a white or Black household.
Jacobs’ behavior on that phone call and her dishonesty on social media were found to have violated the Columbia Heights City Council’s code of conduct.
The council voted without opposition to censure Jacobs on Wednesday night. The action means she is stripped of her position on all boards and commissions that she was not assigned to automatically as a council member.
“I would just like to add how disappointing this whole thing has been and the findings of the investigation as well,” Mayor Amáda Márquez Simula said following the vote. “And just in summary, I’m glad we get to vote on this and hopefully move past this because it’s been very hurtful and damaging to our whole community.”
After the censure vote, Councilmember Conny Buesgens brought forth a motion calling on Jacobs to resign from the council. All council members — aside from Jacobs, who abstained — and Márquez Simula voted in favor of the symbolic motion.
“So now as a council, we would like to ask you to resign your seat,” Márquez Simula said, turning to Jacobs.
“I will not resign,” Jacobs said.
Residents in attendance promptly booed her. One person could be heard saying, “You’re fired. Get out.”
Márquez Simula pressed on: “All of your colleagues have asked you to step down.”
But Jacobs stood firm: “You asked me the question. I’ve answered it.”