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Lincoln City Councilmember William Lauritsen removed from committees, task forces after being accused of slapping a local restaurant owner

The Lincoln City Council voted 4 to 1 to censure William Lauritsen. Lauritsen was the one vote against the censure.

LINCOLN, Calif. — Lincoln City Councilmember William Lauritsen was removed from all committee assignments at Tuesday night's city council meeting after allegedly slapping a local restaurant owner on April 25.

The Lincoln City Council voted 4 to 1 to censure Lauritsen, who was the lone dissenting vote against the censure. The censure removes Lauritsen from his appointments, meetings and other commitments

The censure doesn't remove Lauritsen from the city council, that can only happen if the public initiates a recall process, which can be done by contacting the city clerk.

Lauritsen was accused of slapping Matthew Oliver, who owns businesses in Lincoln and Roseville, while attending California's 3rd Congressional District Candidate Forum on April 25. The incident was captured on Facebook live while Oliver asked Lauritsen questions about his thoughts on the forum.

Lauritsen said at the meeting he did not assault Oliver. He also alleged that other council members have received campaign contributions from Oliver and emphasized that he would not resign.

During the meeting, Oliver spoke and called for Lauritsen's resignation and for an apology. Councilmember Paul Joiner said since the incident he and other council members have been dealing with the ramifications of Lauritsen's actions.

"I have never seen an elected official act in such an outrageous manner," Joiner said, adding he didn't feel like there was an option besides considering censuring Lauritsen.

"We have all been put under pressure, incredible pressure, some of us more than others. And I think we have always acted in a very professional manner, regardless of what was going on internally to us. I wanted to see that from you as well Bill. And I haven't seen it. I haven't seen it here tonight, I didn't see it in our closed session, I haven't seen it in your interactions with others," Joiner said at the May 10 city council meeting.

Other city council members previously asked Lauritsen to resign following the incident, which he refused. In a statement, the city council members previously wrote they would "strongly endorse" Lauritsen being recalled and removed from office if the public chooses.

"No, I'm not going to resign," Lauritsen previously told ABC10. "If they wanted to reprimand me for jostling with Oliver that's fine, but saying they're going to take me off all committees and everything else, this is just too far."

Lincoln Mayor Holly Andreatta previously told ABC10 the councilman's actions were "very unfortunate, very horrific."

"What we all believe is that in the span of 15 minutes he just broke the trust that we have built because people are appalled and it doesn't matter who instigated, it doesn't matter if somebody was egging somebody on, it doesn't matter you cannot behave that way. And to physically strike somebody and then say a bunch of things — it's not acceptable, and it has done a lot of damage to all of the work that we have done over the last several years. So I'm upset about it," Lincoln Mayor Holly Andreatta previously told ABC10.

Watch: Matthew Oliver and William Lauritsen tell their sides of the debate video incident

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