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On Sunday, Brooklyn Bishop Lamar Whitehead, 44, was being recorded on his church’s livestream when he grabbed a female congregant and shoved her off the pulpit during his sermon at the Leaders of Tomorrow International Ministries in Canarsie.
Whitehead was in the middle of speaking to his congregation when he began to notice someone causing a disruption off-camera. After several moments of back and forth conversation, instructing her removal and thanking Jesus, he then sarcastically asked if the woman would like to give the sermon instead.
“You want to come preach?” the bishop asks her. “You want to come preach, come up here. I’m gonna make you famous, yes Lord.”
When she appeared on screen walking past the pulpit, Whitehead grabbed her by the neck before shoving her out of frame to the side.
The bishop then resumed his sermon, only to later release a response on Facebook in which he suggested the altercation came in retaliation to lawsuits he filed against two YouTubers who accused him of stealing from his congregation.
Their allegations were made after a live-streamed video emerged showing Whitehead being targeted by armed thugs who stole $400,000 of jewelry and clothing.
The bishop went on to claim that he has more video and audio to prove that and claimed: “I am a gentleman, I am pro-woman.” He said he simply did “what any man and any pastor would do” in that situation, denying that he “choked her.”
In the follow-up video, Whitehead suggested the woman was threatening his family.
Bishop Whitehead explained, “I am not a person who would try to hurt anyone.” He continued, “Nobody’s going to put a hand on my family. I’m going to protect my family.”
The bishop was arrested after being told he would be charged with assault.
“They lock[ed] me up in front of my children, in front of my wife, in front of my church,” Whitehead told the news outlet hours after his release.
“They publicly embarrassed me and then they drop[ped] all the charges after two hours and apologized to me.”
According to TMZ, the pastor and the unidentified woman were brought to a local precinct for questioning following the altercation and both were released hours later.