The campaign of Sheila Dixon dismissed a volunteer after City Council President Brandon Scott reported the man punched him in the face as Scott entered a mayoral candidates’ forum near downtown Baltimore.
The incident occurred shortly before 7 p.m. Wednesday as Scott was walking into an Open Society Institute-Baltimore forum at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum.
Scott said Michael T. Moore stepped in front of him, blocking his way and pushing him. As Scott attempted to walk around Moore, Moore threw a punch that hit him in the face, Scott said. The punch didn’t land with much impact, and only “slightly touched my jaw,” Scott said Friday.
A worker for fellow candidate state Sen. Mary Washington intervened, Scott said, and he proceeded to participate in the forum.
The council president said he wasn’t hurt.
After the incident, Marvin James, Scott’s campaign manager, sent an email to the Dixon campaign asking that Moore be removed from her campaign.
Dixon said Friday she took swift action as soon as she learned what happened.
“He’s no longer part of my campaign," Dixon said. “This is unacceptable. I do not allow anyone to disrespect an elected official or anyone else.”
Scott, former mayor Dixon, Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young and other Democratic candidates are running in an April 28 primary.
Dixon campaign spokeswoman Martha McKenna said Friday that Moore was sent home Wednesday immediately following the incident.
Scott said he also reported the incident to police. A Baltimore Police spokeswoman said Friday the matter was under investigation.
A police report, obtained by The Baltimore Sun, with Scott’s name redacted is consistent with the version of events he gave Friday.
“While walking into the main entrance, a male stepped into his path and bumped into him,” reads the report for common assault. “At first Mr. [redacted] thought it was unintentional, then the male bumped into him again, and swung a closed fist at his face but did not make contact.”
In a statement, Young said he has “instructed the Baltimore Police Department to fully investigate this alleged assault of an elected official.”
Young indicated he had seen video of the encounter.
“The type of behavior displayed on the video capturing the altercation is disgusting and will be fully investigated,” he said. “I am thankful that Council President Scott was not seriously injured.”
Since the incident, Moore has posted several messages to Facebook that the Scott campaign considers threatening. One post stated, “I hit him now watch God follow up, and a politician.” Another post said, “I’ll be strap hence day forward.”
“You can’t take this stuff lightly,” Scott said.
In an interview Friday, Moore said Scott pushed him from behind, forcing him to defend himself.
“Brandon saw me at a forum and pushed me from the back,” Moore said. “We got in a minor tussle. I punched him in his face.”
Regarding the statements on his Facebook page, Moore said he is allowed to defend himself against someone who he considers started a fight with him.
Moore said he posted video of the incident to Facebook that backs up his account, but he deleted it at Dixon’s request.
Scott said Moore’s version of events is “simply not true.”
Moore said he’s been upset with Scott for months. He said he brought Scott a business idea for how to employ Baltimore’s squeegee kids that the council president stole. “He stole my intellectual property,” Moore said.
Scott said he believes Moore is holding a grudge against him that stems from his loss of his motorcycle. Moore previously complained to Scott’s office about Baltimore police impounding the motorcycle, but Scott said he investigated and learned it was Baltimore County, not Baltimore City, that impounded the vehicle. That left Moore dissatisfied with Scott’s assistance, according to Scott.
Moore, 36, lives in Perry Hall.
Lester Davis, a spokesman for Young, said Friday that the mayor’s office has been in talks with Scott about providing him with security.
“It’s a terrible situation,” Davis said. “We take these things seriously. We’ve had conversations with the council president’s office and have laid out a plan to make sure his safety is paramount. We can pull from off-duty officers and retired officers. If budgeting is a problem, the administration will cover the costs.”