Okeechobee city council member resigns after arrest for threats, battery

Councilman may be suspended by Governor Scott

OKEECHOBEE, Fla. - UPDATE:  An Okeechobee city council member resigned his position following his arrest. In a letter dated June 1, Michael O'Connor wrote "I want to apologize for the could that has been cast on the city and the city family."

"It is with the upmost sadness that I feel I should resign from the city council for personal reasons," O'Connor said in the letter. The letter was sent to the governor's office, according to the city administrator. 

Read the entire letter below.

ORIGINAL STORY: A council member for the City of Okeechobee is facing criminal charges for hurting a woman and preventing her from calling 911, according to an Okeechobee Police report.

Councilman Michael “Mike” O’Connor was arrested on May 24 for threatening a victim or witness and battery. Police say the incident happened 5 days earlier, on May 19, and was caught on video inside a gun shop O'Connor owns.

The video allegedly shows O’Connor pushing and grabbing the woman during an argument inside the store. The woman called 911 but O’Connor shoved her into a cabinet and ripped the phone from her hand, the report states.

Dispatchers say they heard the woman screaming for help and O’Connor yelling at her. State records show O'Connor is the owner of Mike's Okeechobee Guns.

O’Connor asked deputies while he was being taken to the jail if his arrest stems from the video investigators obtained, the report states.

“I guess I shouldn’t have given it to her then,” O’Connor reportedly told a detective. Details of the investigation and contents of the video have not been released yet.

Governor Rick Scott's office was told about the arrest last week, at the advice of the city's attorney. Scott could suspend O'Connor, but told said he is waiting to hear back from the State Attorney's Office before making any decisions. 

In the letter, City Administrator Marcos Montes De Oca wrote, "It appears the incident complained of is a domestic matter, unrelated to Councilman O'Connor's office and duties with the city of Okeechobee." De Oca said the city is not advocating a position on whether or not Scott suspends O'Connor.

O’Connor has served on the Okeechobee City Council since 2009, and also served from 1993-1997, according to the Okeechobee News. His term is set to end in November 2020, according to the city.

Recently, Scott suspended Boca Raton Mayor Susan Haynie after she was criminal charged by the State Attorney's Office.

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