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City leader accused of assaulting businessman at local debate

By Marlee Ginter

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    LINCOLN, California (KOVR) — A Lincoln city leader is accused of hurling insults and even hitting one of his constituents at a local debate—and it was all caught on camera.

Now, city leaders are asking City Councilman William Lauritsen to resign, but he refuses, saying they’re not listening to his side of the story.

As candidates for U.S. Congress squared off at William Jessup University in Rocklin, the ones who really butted heads were in the audience.

Longtime local businessman Matthew Oliver, the owner of House of Oliver in Roseville, started a Facebook Live at the event—but what happened next, he didn’t see coming.

Oliver said, while asking questions to various local politicians, Lauritsen started harassing him until things escalated and even turned violent.

“It wasn’t until he took my phone that I realized this guy is completely and clearly out of line and I needed to get my phone back,” Oliver said. “I needed to get out of here.”

Oliver said what he was trying to do was “ask him questions and get real responses.”

Lauritsen paints a different picture.

“It was recording him and he hit me in the nose with it,” he said of Oliver’s phone.

Lauritsen said Oliver was being aggressive and all he regrets is not walking away sooner.

“He got really ono me, he started pushing me and everything like that. And he’s got his phone at me, so you’re not really seeing what he’s doing, you’re only seeing me,” Lauritsen said.

Lincoln Mayor Holly Andreatta is now pushing for Lauritsen to resign.

“Matthew Oliver is not an elected official. Bill Lauritsen is. He chose to run for council,” she said. “We hold them to a higher accountability. There’s a responsibility when you hold office and all he had to do was walk away.”

We asked Lauritsen if he pushes the envelope. Lauritsen said he doesn’t and added that what happened was “not appropriate but it’s what happens when two guys get together and start arguing.”

“Showing the world who he is needed to be done,” Oliver said. “I believe that he revealed his true character and his true nature.”

As for his seat, Lauritsen says he refuses to resign. The mayor said they can’t remove him and that it would be up to voters to do a recall. But city leaders are looking into censuring him, removing him from every committee and banning him from any city-paid events.

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