West York incident prompts investigation

Christopher Dornblaser
505-5436/@YDDornblaser
  • An incident involving the former mayor and a current council member at the West York meeting prompted a police investigation.
  • Chief of public safety Matt Millsaps said the investigation will be presented to the DA's office.

An incident at the last West York Borough Council meeting has prompted a police investigation, according to officials.

Both West York Mayor Shawn Mauck and the borough's chief of public safety Matt Millsaps said Friday that the incident was an altercation between former mayor Charles Wasko and councilwoman Shelley Metzler during the council's last meeting April 17.

Former mayor of West York Borough, Charles Wasko, is shown during public comment during the West York Borough Council Meeting in West York Borough, Monday, April 3, 2017. Dawn J. Sagert photo

The incident: Millsaps said the incident happened outside the borough building during the meeting's recess. He said Wasko was near the door to get back inside when Metzler "shouldered" him out of the way.

"She sort of shoved passed him with her shoulder," he said.

Millsaps said Wasko drew his fist and started toward her.

"I was able to intercept him," he said. The former mayor was then allowed back into the meeting.

Millsaps said that Metzler and Wasko had a "heated exchange" during the public comment session of the night.

"There's a long history between these individuals," Millsaps said. "I think this was a continuation of long-standing disagreements between the two."

Councilman Shawn Mauck, center, speaks during the West York Borough Council Meeting in West York Borough, Monday, Oct. 17, 2016. The borough would later accept Wasko's resignation. Dawn J. Sagert photo

The participants: On Friday, Metzler declined comment, aside from saying that Wasko had provoked the ordeal.

Wasko sees it differently.

“I asked her a question, if you call that provoking," Wasko said when he was reached by phone Friday. He declined to go into specifics of the disagreement.

Wasko said he was planning on filing simple assault charges against Metzler.

“She charged at me — tried to knock me over," he said, adding that she hit him in the right shoulder like a "pro lineman for the Pittsburgh Steelers."

All private criminal filings have to be approved by the York County District Attorney's Office.

Millsaps said the results of the investigation will be turned over to the district attorney's office sometime next week to determine if any charges should come from the ordeal.

State rep, West York mayor move past racial slur

Prior incidents: Wasko was elected mayor of the borough in 2013 and resigned in October 2016 after racist posts on his Facebook page made headlines.

The posts included two that compared President Barack Obama and his family to apes and one that suggested Obama should be hanged with a noose. Another post featured a fictional black person saying that socialism is "when the white folks work every day so we can get all our governmental entitlement stuff for free."

The post with the noose appears to have been removed, but the others remain up on his public Facebook page.

West York accepts mayor's resignation

At a meeting  Oct. 3, after listening to residents largely stating that they wanted Wasko out, the West York Borough Council unanimously censured the mayor and advised the borough's solicitor to look for "any means possible" to remove him from office. Those motions came after a parade of locals spoke for an hour and a half, almost all calling the mayor's posts on Facebook racist and unacceptable.

Mauck, who was council president at the time, took over as mayor in October. He is running unopposed for mayor this year.

— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at cdornblaser@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @YDDornblaser.