Hallandale Beach mayor slurs words, walks off dais at commission meeting

Mayor Joy Cooper says she was feeling ill, not under influence of drugs

By Bob Norman - Investigative Reporter

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - It was obvious early on during Wednesday night's commission meeting that Hallandale Beach Mayor Joy Cooper wasn't quite right, slurring several words and rambling for several minutes at a time. 

The word history became "sistory," democracy was "dismocraphy," candid was "cannid" and insult was "intersult." 

Commissioner Michele Lazarow, no political ally of the mayor, called her out in less-than-diplomatic terms, calling it "incoherent babbling and rambling." 

"You're an embarrassment, mayor," she said. "You don't know where to put a period."

Shortly after that, Cooper simply got up and declared it was time for a break, disrupting the meeting and arguing with Lazarow and Vice Mayor Keith London before being escorted off. It was at about that time that Deputy City Manager Nydia Rafols-Sallaberry called the mayor's husband to take her home. 

But she refused to leave, and her husband began cursing at London and others, ranting obscenely and at one point challenging the vice mayor to a fight in the parking lot. 

Finally, at the end of the night, police drove the mayor home.

Cooper told Local 10 News that she was not under the influence, but was simply under the weather after a trip to Mexico, calling it a case of "Montezuma's revenge." 

"The last three days I have been living on rice, bananas and Gatorade," she said. "Apparently, my colleagues believe I was under the influence of some kind of medication or drugs or whatever. No I wasn't."

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