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By Brian Hews
Cerritos Mayor Pro Tem Bruce Barrows was involved in an incident Monday night that could land the veteran city councilman in legal hot water after he allegedly physically assaulted resident Jay Gray.
Gray, who is on Tuesday’s ballot for a seat on the Central Basin Water Board of Directors told Los Cerritos Community Newspaper in an exclusive interview Tuesday morning that Barrows “grabbed me” and “threw him” and “yanked at his jacket and neck tie” after the meeting to dispute Gray’s public comments he made about various city priorities for the upcoming fiscal year.
Gray said that Barrows “became enraged” after the meeting was over and confronted him inside the city council chambers. “He got right in my face, and wouldn’t stop his aggressive language,” Gray said.
Gray, a resident of Cerritos for the past 40 years, then attempted to distance himself from Barrows and the councilman allegedly followed him outside the city council chambers and then apparently grabbed Gray by the arm and began pushing and shoving him while still yelling obscenities.
“I was stunned,” Gray said.
Gray then told Los Cerritos Community Newspaper that he told Barrows he was going to the Cerritos Sheriff’s Department next door to city hall to file a formal complaint.
Members of the Cerritos Sheriff’s Department confirmed that Gray filed a report and that Barrows was interviewed by a Detective and confirmed the incident.
Law enforcement also interviewed one additional witness, long time resident and city council critic Jim McMahon. McMahon told LCCN that he tried to “get Barrows to calm down,” but the heated exchange continued.
Lt. Harpham with the Cerritos Sheriff’s Department said that an “incident” did take place involving Barrows and Gray, and that a “formal investigation has been launched, pending further review.”
Harpham also confirmed that Barrows and Gray were both interviewed along with “one other witness.”
“We are just beginning the investigation,” Harpham said.
Barrows is the current President of the League of California Cities, Los Angeles Division. Los Cerritos Community Newspaper will have additional details as they become available on Tuesday.
Calls into Barrows were not returned to Los Cerritos Community Newspaper.
Harpham said that the case will turned over to the Los Angels County District Attorney’s Office “when we are done with our investigation.”
Update: Tuesday, June 5 at 6:25 p.m.
Los Cerritos Community Newspaper was given a copy of an email Cerritos Mayor Pro-Tem Bruce Barrows sent to a local on-line web site regarding the incident via his personal email account:
“At the conclusion of our budget meeting, while I was walking back to City Hall a discussion with Jay Gray became heated with my walking away from him. Jay then followed me out of the building making a sexual comment about my wife. A report was filed separately by Jay and myself with the Cerritos Sheriff’s Station that is under investigation. We are hoping to have a decision from the D.A. tomorrow. I refer you to the contents of that report for the facts, which are substantially different from that reported by the Community News.”
Copyright. All Rights Reserved. Los Cerritos Community Newspaper. Hews Media Group. 2012. Republication with proper attribution
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