Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 15, 2007
City councilman calls for investigation
By Tammy Leytham
The Selma Times-Journal
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With city officials still reeling over Monday’s city council meeting where police were called in to clear council chambers, the fallout continues as one councilman called for an investigation by the state attorney general’s office.
Councilman Reid Cain, in a written statement released to the press Wednesday, asked the attorney general’s office to investigate why a Selma police officer apparently refused to remove Councilwoman Bennie Ruth Crenshaw from the council chambers when asked to do so by council president George Evans.
The meeting became heated over discussions of the council’s appointee to the city’s water board. Councilwoman Geraldine Allen and Councilman Samuel Randolph each claim the right to sit on the water board.
After repeatedly asking Crenshaw to come to order, Evans ruled her out of order and asked that she leave the council chambers. &8220;I go when he goes & we’re leaving together, baby,&8221; she told Evans during an extended exchange between the two.
Cain said that during the meeting, Evans instructed the officer on duty to remove &8220;a certain council member&8221; from the chamber.
The rules and procedures adopted by the council last year state, &8220;Anyone who becomes disrespectful and disruptive during the council meetings will be warned and asked immediately to refrain from such behavior. If the inappropriate behavior continues, the individual will be asked to excuse themselves from the council chambers. If the individual does not abide by the order to excuse themselves, he/she will be escorted by the police officer on duty. This rule applies to citizens, council members and president of the council. The right of appeal to the city council may be used by the city council or president of city council.&8221;
According to the Alabama Code of Criminal Conduct, &8220;a person commits the crime of disorderly conduct if, with intent to cause public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, or recklessly creating risk thereof, he & without lawful authority, disturbs any lawful assembly or meeting of persons.&8221;
Cain said that following the meeting, &8220;I approached the on-duty police officer & and courteously asked her for her name. When she refused to provide her name, I attempted to obtain her badge number and she would not allow me to see her badge.&8221;
Cain said he is calling on the attorney general’s office to investigate because &8220;it is apparent to me that the City of Selma Police Department can not internally investigate this matter given that a police officer even refuses to provide her name and badge number upon the request of an elected city councilperson.&8221;
He also expressed his frustration over the incident.
According to a representative from its press office, the attorney general’s office does not comment on whether or not investigations are undertaken.
Attempts to contact Crenshaw were unsuccessful as of press time.