‘You’re Gonna Give Her Respect!’: Black Councilwoman’s Husband Steps In As White Mayor Berates Her In Public Meeting for Asking a Question: “Quiet! And I Mean It!’

The mayor of a suburb of metropolitan Atlanta verbally berated a Black councilwoman during a recent city council meeting.

He believed she was asking too many questions, impeding the proceedings with queries he believed were irrelevant to the agenda.

The council gathered in the Council Chambers at the Glanton Municipal Complex on Monday, Oct. 23, at 6:30 p.m., with an array of issues on the table. The mayor, Richard Proctor, attempted to keep order in the meeting by censuring the only Black woman elected to the body.

Black Councilwoman's Husband Steps In As White Mayor Berates Her In Public Meeting for Asking a Question
Grantville Mayor Richard Proctor, left and Grantville Councilwoman Dee Berry, right (Photos: Facebook)

Despite his efforts, councilwoman Dee Latimore Berry was adamant about getting her points across.

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One of the major points of clarification she asked was how the council could meet without city attorney Mark Mitchell present. She also asked why the meeting wasn’t a closed-session one, as would be the case when personnel matters are discussed. Berry also raised questions about the city manager’s position and pay.

“Mrs. Berry, would you please stay on topic tonight, or I’m gonna have you removed,” Proctor said after telling her that the city attorney didn’t need to be there.


“You’re going to have me removed for asking a question,” she responded and continued to press.

The agitated mayor yelled at the elected official, aggressively pointing his finger at her. He then said in a loud, aggressive tone, “Quiet. Quiet, and I mean it!”

At that point, according to WSB Radio. James Berry, councilwoman Berry’s husband, interjected, standing up for his wife.

“Let me get something squared away with you now— I’m tired of you disrespecting Mrs. Berry. You’re gonna give her respect like you give the rest of them,” James Berry snapped.

The mayor said that the councilwoman was out of order, to which her husband clapped back, “You’re out of order, too, and you’re the mayor. You’re supposed to be able to hold things down!”

Proctor continued to say that Berry was disrupting the meeting by asking too many questions. However, she did not back down, noting her rights as a councilwoman. “I can ask the question about anything,” the councilwoman continued. “This is not a dictatorship. This is America. This is the United States.”

Suppressing questions that officials don’t want to answer or addressing some matters that are supposed to be public in a private setting seems to be an issue for Grantsville.

In 2022, Grantville City Councilman Jim Sells criticized reporter Justin Gray as a bully for questioning the council’s actions against citizen Robert Royce. Royce was arrested for submitting 75 Georgia Open Records Act requests seeking city documents. Though he inconvenienced officials, his actions were lawful. Nevertheless, the council voted to pursue a criminal indictment under House Bill 838, designed for those causing harm or terrorizing police.

Two months later, the criminal charges against Royce were dropped by Coweta County District Attorney John Cranford Jr.

“I did not believe there was sufficient evidence to warrant an investigation pursuant to any violation of Georgia law,” he said.

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After the explosive back and forth with Proctor and Berry, the council resumed the meeting and actually handled some business of the city.

Grantville’s city council is led by the mayor and includes four other elected members, who all handle the politics of the city of 3,133 residents. Recently, the city, all of 5.9 square miles, has been at a disadvantage after one councilman, Alan Wacaser, resigned.

The mayor read his letter of resignation, where Wacaser said he was leaving his position for personal reasons.

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