The wife of Miami Lakes mayoral candidate Wayne Slaton claims that a campaign volunteer for incumbent mayor Michael Pizzi took her cellphone and insulted her and her family.
The alleged confrontation, now under investigation by Miami-Dade police, happened Sunday as candidates and volunteers gathered outside the early voting site at the Miami Lakes Library on Ludlam Road.
Margaret Slaton, the wife of Miami Lakes’ first mayor and a Pizzi challenger, said she was in the shopping center parking lot near the library with her daughter and four other volunteers when two women and two teenage boys wearing Pizzi T-shirts approached. After a brief verbal exchange, former Miami Lakes councilman George Lopez and another man approached Margaret Slaton.
Lopez said something “very slanderous and personal,” according to Slaton, at which point she took out her cellphone to record his behavior.
The police report says he grabbed her hand and took her cellphone, holding it over his head and behind his back.
The five-second cellphone video shows the struggle for the phone as Slaton says, “Give me my phone back.”
“If you can imagine a sixth grader taunting a third grader, that’s what it was like,” Slaton said Tuesday, even though Lopez returned the cellphone a few seconds after stopping the recording, according to the police report.
Lopez said on Tuesday that he told police he had been attacked by Slaton and simply held up his hands to keep her from hitting him with the phone in her hand.
Pizzi said he had no knowledge of the incident, even though witnesses say he was there at the time. He said the allegations were a “distraction” from everything he has accomplished as mayor.