Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th) speaks after Mayor Brandon Johnson gave his budget address for the 2024 fiscal year to City Council on Oct. 11, 2023. Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago

CHICAGO —Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa has resigned as City Council floor leader after colleagues said he tried to physically stop a fellow alderperson from joining a meeting regarding Chicago’s sanctuary city status.

Ramirez-Rosa (35th) announced Monday he will be stepping down from the position as floor reader and chairman of the City Council’s Zoning Committee following last week’s contentious special council meeting.

The meeting, called Thursday by Alds. Anthony Beale (9th) and Ray Lopez (15th), was an effort to revise Chicago’s sanctuary city status. Beale and Lopez want to put a referendum on the March ballot to ask voters if Chicago should remain a sanctuary city, the Sun-Times reported.

Ramirez-Rosa tried getting other alderpeople to ditch the meeting, and attempted to physically block Ald. Emma Mitts (37th) from joining, according to the Sun-Times.

Denying the meeting a quorum would end the effort to reverse sanctuary city laws, a proposal Ramirez-Rosa and other progressive alderpeople were against.

With a quorum of alderpeople not yet present at the specially called meeting, Ramirez-Rosa tried to bar Mitts from taking to the City Council chambers, according to media reports.

Lopez said on social media he had to get in between Ramirez-Rosa and Mitts until “she was able to break free” from Ramirez-Rosa.

After protests outside his office and calls for his ouster, Ramirez-Rosa apologized in a statement.

“I feel awful about everything that happened. I have reached out to my colleagues to apologize directly and seek to make amends,” Ramirez-Rosa said in the statement. “I made mistakes, and I learned valuable lessons. I take full responsibility for what I’ve done.”

Ramirez-Rosa will resign from his role as chair of the city’s powerful zoning committee effective Dec. 1, he announced.

The Logan Square alderperson is one of Mayor Brandon Johnson’s most powerful allies on the City Council. Johnson appointed Ramirez-Rosa to the floor leader and zoning committee chair positions, two of the most prominent roles on the council, after the mayor took office this spring.

Johnson said in a statement he spoke with Ramirez-Rosa Sunday and the two agreed he should step down.

“Alderman Ramirez-Rosa has acknowledged his transgressions, apologized to his colleagues and committed himself to rebuilding trust,” the mayor said. “I am confident we will find a way to move forward and regain the trust and respect necessary to have a functioning legislative body.”

Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th) speaks about the migrant situation at a City Council meeting on Nov. 1, 2023. Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago

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Mitts has not publicly commented on the incident at City Hall. The city’s Aldermanic Black Caucus released a statement over the weekend calling for Ramirez-Rosa’s ouster following the dust up.

“The bullying by Floor Leader Ramirez-Rosa to Chairwomen Emma Mitts, City Council’s longest-serving woman, was unprofessional and unbecoming of his role,” the Black Caucus said in a statement. “Alderman Ramirez-Rosa’s actions of physical and verbal harassment have let down our council and the people of Chicago.”

Ramirez-Rosa was first elected to City Council in 2015, becoming one of the youngest alderpeople in city history at 26 years old. He was also the first Democratic Socialist on the City Council and is now the elder of the growing socialist caucus.

A staunch supporter of Johnson’s mayoral campaign, Ramirez-Rosa was appointed floor leader and zoning committee chair by Johnson. The Council floor leader is chosen by the mayor to help carry out their legislative agenda, whip votes and frequently act as a spokesperson for the administration.

The Thursday meeting where the altercation between Ramirez-Rosa and Mitts took place was eventually ended due to a lack of quorum.

The City Council will meet next at 11 a.m. Tuesday.

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