Forest Lake Mayor apologizes for language used against colleague

The Mayor of Forest Lake, Minnesota, is under fire for cursing at a colleague during a city council meeting Monday night.

The foul-mouthed exchange was all caught on city cameras and has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times on social media.

Now, some residents are calling for Mayor Ben Winnick’s resignation. Many in town say he should give up his seat if he can't be respectful.

The mayor won't do that, but wants the community to know he's sorry.

In the video, the Mayor can be heard exchanging tense words with a member of the planning commission, eventually calling him a “piece of s---.”

The dust-up happened during public comment when Eric Langness was given three minutes to speak.

The planning commissioner said he was constantly interrupted by the mayor.

“I got to apologize to the people of Forest Lake. I lost my cool, that’s not what we are about on the council,” the mayor said.

Mayor Winnick said his temper got the better of him. He said his issues with Langness started when he appointed someone else to fill a city council seat.

Langness, however, said that's not what upset him; instead it's a number of moves Winnick has made as mayor to anger residents.

Winnick was a supporter of dismantling the police department and recently voted against a mental health facility for children to be constructed in an empty lot.

“It’s absolutely unacceptable for any politician, and I’m not going to stand for it,” Langness said.

Residents who've seen the video said they are disappointed that even small town politics has sunk to this level.

“There’s a time and a place for things and words…probably not the time or the place,” resident Robert Bleskey said.

Eric Langness filed a police report after the incident because he felt threatened by the mayor. The mayor said he emailed Langness and apologized and would like to sit down and hash out their differences respectfully.

More of the story on Fox 9 at 9 & 10 p.m.