CLAYTON, Mo. – Councilmembers on the Justice, Health, and Welfare Committee meeting met Monday night to talk about “chamber security issues and decorum.” The meeting quickly focused on St. Louis County Health Department Acting Director Dr. Faisal Khan‘s claims that he was “physically assaulted, called racist slurs and surrounded by an angry mob.”
Khan admitted that he “expressed my displeasure by using my middle finger toward an individual who had physically threatened me and called me racist slurs.”
Khan sent the claims in a letter to Chairwoman Rita Heard Days and asked the council to investigate.
Members of the Justice, Health, and Welfare Committee are Chairwoman Shalonda Webb, Rita Heard Days, Lisa Clancy, and Tim Fitch. They met in the same council chambers Monday evening to begin their investigation.
Webb opened the meeting by stating, “The meeting last Tuesday is not the impression we want to give the nation, the citizens of St. Louis County, and all that we work on behalf of.”
Fitch and Webb said they did not hear any racial slurs or see any physical assaults during last Tuesday’s meeting where the council voted to overturn a mask mandate put into place by County Executive Sam Page.
“I didn’t personally hear any racial remarks, so when I received a phone call from Dr. Khan last week, it shook me,” Webb said.
“I see nothing at this point that supports what he’s alleging,” Fitch said before the meeting started.
Webb said the committee invited Dr. Khan to the meeting either virtually or in person, but he was not present. Page was not at the meeting either.
The committee asked multiple police officers who were at Tuesday’s meeting to share their testimonies about what they saw happen firsthand.
“Upon my observation of the video, what I observed upon completion of Dr. Khan’s presentation he began walking south out of the council chambers right in the rear here toward the foyer,” one police officer testified during Monday’s meeting.
Khan asked St. Louis County Security Officer Neil if he would escort him. Neil stated during the meeting that he did and walked to the side and slightly behind Dr. Khan from the doorway to the elevator, watched him get into the elevator alone, and didn’t leave until he knew the elevator had started moving.
“I started escorting him to the elevators. There were some people heckling, booing, telling him he was wrong, he then flipped them the middle finger,” Neil said.
Officer Neil said he did not see anything happen to Dr. Khan the entire time that would be seen as a security threat, nor did he hear any racial comments said toward Dr. Khan. The security officer said if he did see anyone touch Dr. Khan or say any threats toward him, that he would have stepped in.
Councilwoman Lisa Clancy motioned to go into closed session after a short time, but none of the other members seconded the motion and the meeting remained open to the public.
Many of those in attendance at the meeting were unmasked Monday. The council asked police officers if they were told to enforce masks during Tuesday’s meeting. They said they did not have any direction to enforce the wearing of masks.
Khan said Missouri U.S. Senate candidate Mark McCloskey and Paul Berry III, a former county executive candidate, were sitting right behind him and constantly berated him, and tried to distract him from his presentation.
Berry III and McCloskey spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting and denied any wrongdoing that Khan alleged they had done.