Flint, MI – The trial in City of Flint v. Eric Mays began Thursday, March 9, 2023, with multiple city officials taking the witness stand.

The City was represented by attorney Michael Gildner and Flint City Councilman Eric Mays chose to represent himself.

The case, in which Mays faces one charge of disorderly conduct and disorderly persons, is being heard by 67th District Court Judge Vikki Bayeh-Haley. According to Michigan law, Mays’ charge is a misdemeanor punishable by not more than 90 days in jail or a $500 fine.

The first day of the trial saw three witnesses take the stand: Flint City Council President Allie Herkenroder, Flint Police Officer William Metcalfe and Flint City Councilwoman Jerri Winfrey-Carter.

In a previous presentation, Gildner had noted that the City was suing Mays for his conduct at an April 25, 2022 meeting, noting he was removed from the meeting by vote and refused to leave, leading to police intervention.

In response to Gildner’s presentation, Mays had said the real point of contention was whether or not it was permissible for him to return to that meeting after being excused by the council president.

On March 9, Herkenroder was called to the stand first, and questioned on whether or not she gave Mays permission to leave the eight-hour meeting that took place in April 2022.

In the video footage of the April 25 meeting shown during the trial, Herkenroder responded, “OK,” to Mays announcing he was going to excuse himself from the meeting to sit in the audience. Prior to this, Mays was issued a warning for using profanity during the same meeting.

Through testimony, Herkenroder said that it is a common practice for councilmembers to excuse themselves from meetings and that they are often given permission to leave and allowed to come back. However, she testified that she did not give Mays permission to leave and therefore it was against the rules for him to return to the meeting.

“If you had been granted permission to leave, you would not need permission to come back,” Herkenroder said.

The second witness was Flint Police Officer William Metcalfe, who arrested Mays after he attempted to return to the April 25 meeting.

Metcalfe testified that he initially asked Mays to leave on his own. In response, Metcalfe testified that Mays told him he would only leave if he was handcuffed and arrested.

Councilwoman Jerri Winfrey-Carter was third to the stand and said she often requests to be excused from council meetings.

“I’ve been excused by the chair and I was let back into the meeting and continued on that particular night,” she said.

Winfrey-Carter also testified that it was unfair of Herkenroder to assume that Mays was leaving the meeting for good because his belongings were still at his spot.

Winfrey-Carter will return to complete her testimony before the jury on Friday, March 10, 2023, when more witnesses, including City of Flint Attorney Bill Kim and Flint City Councilmembers Tonya Burns and Dennis Pfeiffer, are expected to appear.

Sophia is Flint Beat's City Hall reporter. She joins the team after previously reporting for the Livingston Daily and the Lansing State Journal, along with some freelance work with The New York Times....

19 replies on “Council members take stand in Eric Mays trial”

  1. I feel that every single person from Flint Council should be terminated from their position. All of them act like a bunch of bickering high school kids who are setting a poor example & sending a bad message to US TAXPAYERS. These people can’t agree on anything & constant arguing mean bad communication. Eric Mays should’ve been fired a long time ago. Flint don’t need an alcoholic or a drug addict to be one of our councilmen representing the City of Flint

    1. That’s a harsh thing to say, how do you know what he is? If his people voted for him, then they want him in office

      1. Because the community don’t know what transparency and accountability is, they only see the screaming thinking its helping. All the screaming only getting everyone angry and nobody will help the community, which seems to be his goal my opinion.

    2. It is my opinion the entire city Council should be removed, and he should have counseling; because he seems to not be able to control his unprofessional behavior, it’s seems he wants his colleagues to fear him which distracts from the community needs being addressed.

  2. I’ve been to those meetings and they all fight they all think their right. But Mr. May’s swears and callings people names like he’s in school again. I remember the day in 2013 when he was driving the wrong way on 475, he could of killed someone. He tried to pawn or sale a laptop that didn’t even belong to him. I’m sorry, but for all the things he’s done and being thrown out of meetings, being taking our by cops, and just being absolutely rude during meetings. He should not be allowed to be on our council representing Flint.

    1. The court ruled in May’s favor due to insufficient evidence that he was driving the wrong way on the expressway. Unless, you have photographs of him behind the steering wheel of the vehicle … you’re speculating. My understanding, when the police showed up; Mays nor the other person were in the car. Neither one admitted to being the driver.

  3. There isn’t a problem with Eric Mays he is excellent at his job and works tirelessly for not only the residents in his ward , he does for all the wards . He has a commanding presence and voice to match . Because individuals don’t like the sound of another person’s voice , have low self esteem, harbor jealousy, and hate because they aren’t as knowledgeable about their position is no reason for Eric Mays to constantly be unfairly treated. He’s very knowledgeable and instead of working against him they should be working with him. His Presidency Seat was unjustly taken.

    1. If you can’t physically attend the meetings then watch them. The voting says it all. I begging all residents to please start attending and participating in the city council meetings. There are 5 council members who need to be removed along with Attorney Kim.

      1. I am a senior citizen in Flint and I would love to start attending the city counsel meetings but I never know when or where they are to be held,could you please inform me.

  4. This is a mockery of the court and hopefully he gets locked up! JWC trying to stick up for May’s outlandish and unprofessional behavior is disgusting. When will this nonsense end???

    1. He asked to be excused. Herkenroder said ok. The she didn’t let him back in. It’s on tape. Then she gets on the stand and lies. She said she never allowed him to leave the meeting. I don’t like Mays. However in this case he is 100% right.

  5. Anne, in Florida (who’s been following the council meetings and loves Mr. Maya and his energy, cause and fights for social justic) says:

    He said he was going to excuse himself from the meeting; she said, “ok,” which suggests, in both instances, that his leaving was accepted. The problem is in the translation and interpretation of the “ok.” Her version of the “ok,” even though she absolutely knew he would be returning because his belongings were there, was not, in her version of permission, was “Ok, you’re leaving, but I’m not giving you ‘permission’ to leaving, I’m just responding to your declaration of leaving, which isn’t necessarily an act of official protocol to your declaration.” Simply stated, he told her he was leaving, and she simply said, “ok,” which, in this instance, was neither an “ask” or an “given,” because Mr. Mays would never “ask” the WW to “be excused,” even though if he had, she would’ve permitted him to do so w the expectation that he would return.

    1. My opinion it should never be necessary for any council members to be screaming and yelling as if to want others to be in fear. It distracts from addressing the community needs and there are numerous needs the community is lacking.

  6. March 10, 2023, Flint City Councilman Eric Mays found guilty of disorderly conduct. The case was heard by Judge Vikki Bayeh-Haley. According to Michigan law, Mays’ charge is a misdemeanor punishable by not more than 90 days in jail or a $500 fine.

  7. Ms. Herkenroder allowed Mr. Mays to leave (as she stated when permission is granted the mbr then returns to the mtg.) while his belongings were still at his seat. He returned & was denied re-entry because she ed thinking something else (as if he was kicked out?) which is a No.

    The fact that she misrepresented her answer to court officials is troubling; saying she did not allow him to leave. but, it’s on recording she did) & any clarification of his intent or the yes, you can leave gesture, should have been clarified by her ensuring the meeting if the minds before he was allowed to leave! This is her doing (causing false accusation) or undoing (retracting her initial statement to clear the misrepresented charges, now requiring a dismissal – not guilty, free of charges disposition & Mr. Mays’ reinstatement yo council seat, put on record.

    Charge *Ms. Herkenroder with ‘contempt of court” for misrepresented statement she offered against Mr. Mays, causing the unfounded charges against him. Key her serve her sentence. Remove her from her position due to the charge. Demote her & fire her for lying. Put in the person next in line for that vacant seat.

    Lastly, require the entire council to attend group counseling to resolve any current personality issues, encourage apologies all around to each other & to the public they represent, re-teach session on conflict resolution skills, professional behavior vs emotional behaviors they’ve all negatively exhibited as council mbrs.

    Self-counsel at realtime sessions with this:
    Institute a timeout button of 7mins. for all to partake of when a mtg. starts to get emotional vs professional or, aggressively off topic. Regroup mentally – restart mtg. Make name calling or false accusations s checkmark/strike against a mbr. If they get 3, they sit out a session. Get too many may be cause for dismissal from council!?!

    These are my suggestions from a Ohio viewer who favors Mr. Mays’ “good trouble” fight for his community. 👍🏾 This chaotic council is not all his fault! Group counseling needed! Thanking you!

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