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It's a video that's gone viral and has been seen on national news: The expletive laden surveillance video of Monticello Mayor Gordon Jenkins' DWI arrest. Tuesday night was the first time the village board has met since that video spread on social networking sites like YouTube. Eva McKend has more.
MONTICELLO, N.Y. -- A village divided. Some residents support the mayor, others don't. At times, the village board meeting turned into a shouting match. In a statement, the mayor apologized for his racially charged language during his DWI arrest but maintains the police unfairly went after him.
"Despite my evident frustration with what I believe was selective and targeted police conduct against me and the violation of my rights, I agree with those who have condemned my choice of language," said Monticello Mayor Gordon Jenkins.
The room was comprised mostly of Jenkins' supporters who lodged insults at Trustee Carmen Rue for putting the surveillance video she obtained through a Freedom of Information request on YouTube. The video, rife with foul language and racial slurs directed at Monticello officers, has since made its way into homes across America.
"He is trying. I feel as though he was unfairly targeted. I do feel it. I'm not justifying what he did. Don't get me wrong. I know wrong is wrong but I felt as though they shouldn't have targeted him like that," said Monticello resident Larry McCall.
Rue attempted to remove Jenkins from his position as village manager, but was only supported by trustee Larissa Bennett who says she didn't like what she saw on that surveillance tape.
Bennett said, "I just don't want America to think that the Village of Monticello's African American residents all think and speak in that manner. I think it's important to know that there are hardworking African Americans that conduct themselves in a better manner."
There were a few people who did take the mayor to task, arguing his arrest and subsequent behavior isn't an issue of race but instead about right and wrong.
"It's setting a bad example for the youth. If we really expect them to do better, if we really expect the community to progress, then we've got a lot of coming up to do," said Monticello resident Janette Williams.
The Monticello PBA has asked for the mayor's resignation, as well as Village Trustee Rue, but even Trustee Bennett, who voted Tuesday for him to be removed as manager, still believes he can lead the village as mayor.
The mayor is due back in court on Friday.