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Small, but loud group, disrupts council meeting Wednesday

3 months 1 week 2 days ago Wednesday, May 10 2017 May 10, 2017 May 10, 2017 5:08 PM May 10, 2017 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE – A handful of people were removed from the East Baton Rouge Parish Metro Council meeting Wednesday afternoon when they tried to forcibly sway the conversation away from city business and toward a political discussion about Alton Sterling and the Baton Rouge Police Department.

According to council rules, speakers speaking before the council are asked to keep their comments germane to business at hand. When a speaker tries to use the public comment section of an agenda to discuss items not before the council, they are routinely asked to step away from the podium and are occasionally removed from the meeting room. A small number of people – both black and white – were walked out of the meeting for trying to commandeer the meeting.

“Mike” McClanahan, the president of the EBR NAACP lead the speakers, wishing to talk about Sterling and the police department.

“You all continue to conduct business as usual,” McClanahan said before being escorted out. McClanahan made his comments during a time devoted to talking about a matter related to a sewer project.

“Either talk on the [agenda item] or leave,” a councilmen said.

McClanahan said he wanted to discuss the agenda item but never referenced it before leaving the meeting.

As the meeting continued, a number of others tried to use mundane city business as a springboard to a more politically charged debate, but each time, they were told to leave. At one point, a small train of people walked up to a muted microphone and tried to speak off-topic.

Outside, a small group gathered, chanting frustrations about the recent Justice Department decision not to charge the officers involved in the shooting death of Sterling last year. The group has called for the city to fire the two officers, too.

An activist and blogger was also detained after failing to comply with requests to not create a disturbance at the meeting Wednesday.  Police later said they issued the man a court summons - essentially a ticket - for disturbing the police and resisting. 

As the council meeting wore on with other city business, the group outside started walking to the downtown police station for what appeared to be an impromptu picket.

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Follow the publisher of this post on Twitter: @treyschmaltz

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