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Aide alleges that Kansas City Councilman Michael Brooks assaulted her

Michael BrooksAn aide to Kansas City Councilman Michael Brooks has filed a police report alleging the councilman assaulted her. City Hall and the police are investigating.

The council aide, Tonia Titus, 45, filed a police report Sunday alleging she had been assaulted in her cubicle at City Hall and an adjacent office. The police report redacted the suspect’s name, but several City Hall sources confirmed the suspect was Titus’ boss, Brooks.

Neither Titus nor Brooks could be reached for comment Wednesday. Lawyer John Picerno, who said he was representing Brooks, released a statement denying the allegations.

“On his behalf, I can tell you that he did not commit an assault,” Picerno said in the statement. If any charges are filed, he said, Brooks intends to plead not guilty.

Brooks is a first-term councilman, representing the 5th District in east Kansas City, and has a campaign committee to seek re-election next year. In addition to his council duties, he is senior pastor of Zion Grove Baptist Church.

According to the police report, Titus was sitting in her cubicle work area Nov. 4 when the suspect walked up and stated, “I really don’t like your hair short or long.” According to the report, the suspect grabbed Titus’ hair with one hand and her throat with his other and dragged her into his office. She said that once in the office, the suspect began to choke her with both his hands and with her belt.

She said she was finally able to scream and got up and left his office, then left the building in her vehicle. Titus did not seek medical attention, according to the report, but said there were four to seven employees around her cubicle at the time who heard what was said before she was forced into the office.

City Hall spokesman Chris Hernandez said Wednesday that the incident is a human resources matter and that the city has hired an outside firm to investigate. He declined to comment further.

Joni Wickham, chief of staff for Mayor Sly James, said the mayor would await the outcome of any investigation before commenting.

Capt. Tye Grant, spokesman for the Kansas City Police Department, said that the incident was under investigation and that the department was waiting for Titus to schedule a time when she can meet with investigators.

In August 2013, Brooks apologized to his City Council colleagues, saying he had made a “terrible mistake” for sending sexually charged online messages to a woman who was not his wife.

His attorney said that Brooks never met the woman in person and that there was no impropriety.

The scandal faded, and Brooks has maintained a low profile since then.

To reach Lynn Horsley, call 816-226-2058 or send email to lhorsley@kcstar.com.