York City councilwoman accuses mayor of 'demeaning' remarks on Facebook video

Logan Hullinger
York Dispatch
York City Council Member Edquina Washington following a press conference, at Crispus Attucks Community Center in York City, Tuesday, March 6, 2018. An informational meeting will be held at the community center on Tuesday, March 20, from 4-7 p.m. Dawn J. Sagert photo

York City Councilwoman Edquina Washington confronted Mayor Michael Helfrich during a Tuesday, July 17, council committee meeting, alleging he made a "demeaning" comment on a video of her dancing on Facebook.

The Friday, July 6, video was taken during the city's First Friday July block party. The video shows Washington and York City Police Officer Justin Main dancing to "Wobble, Baby," a popular dance song.

Quasheeda McMillian, of York City, shot the video.

Upon sharing the video on his own Facebook page, Helfrich wrote, "Dang! I left too early. Check out Officer Main and Councilwoman Edquina Washington shaking it up at the 600 West Princess Block Party! Now that's community building!"

Washington used the final minutes of the committee meeting Tuesday to publicly confront Helfrich regarding how she felt about his remarks.

"I want to let you know that your comments were not only demeaning but also disrespectful to me," she said. "I was not shaking anything, I was doing a simple line dance in my community."

She went on to add that the comments "may seem light to (Helfrich), but as a woman, they were disrespectful."

Applause from the audience followed, but Helfrich was unable to comment before Council President Henry Nixon adjourned the meeting.

York City Mayor Michael Helfrich speaks as organizers hold a press conference to introduce 10,000 Acts of Kindness, a year-long collaborative effort to spread kindness and goodwill, outside of the York County Administrative Center in York City, Friday, June 29, 2018. Dawn J. Sagert photo

However, after the meeting Helfrich denied having any intention of disrespecting Washington.

"My comment was purely supportive," he said. "I acknowledged the councilwoman for joining our police officer at the community event and engaging in community building."