The next Huntsville City Council will be held this Thursday, December 3. It will followed by another City Council meeting Thursday, December 17. The regular schedule was changed for the Holidays.
IIRC the City Council will vote on the Correctional Facility zoning ordinance (“Locally unwanted land use”).
I plan to ask about the actions of a Huntsville Police Officer at a PTA meeting (Oct 13 – which was caught on video and summarized here):
After the PTA President failed to follow basic rules of order, CJ objected and offered to “educate” her. And he objected. And made motions. And so on. The school security guard came over to CJ and told the crowd to raise their hands to be heard. CJ raised his hand.
The next part is unbelievable, except that you can see it and hear it on the video. A Huntsville City Police Officer approached CJ and told him to put his hand down. To repeat – an armed Police Officer told CJ at a PTA meeting to lower his hand. This is an issue that HPD needs to address.
Now is the time to address this issue. A parent at a PTA meeting was trying to be heard and was following the directions of the school security guard. The Police basically told him to shut up.
Keep in mind that at this point Grisham had not yet slapped the desk to leave – he was exercising his rights as a parent, as a PTA member, and as a citizen.
The City needs to remind their sworn officers that suppressing peaceful free speech is not their job, and is in fact contrary to their mission:
Our mission is to protect life and property, preserve the constitutional rights of every citizen and to vigorously enforce the laws of the United States of America and the Great State of Alabama. We strive to accomplish our mission within the constraints of law, with respect for human dignity and in accordance with the highest standards of performance and accountability.
Chief Reyes? I know you’re busy with the accreditation process, but this is of fundamental importance. I hope to hear from you Thursday.
I also expect to congratulate the HPD for earning re-accreditation soon. Know that we’re very proud of the HPD and that this criticism is offered to improve the Department. It is the HPD’s job to preserve rights, not suppress them.
Here’s my prepared speech to the City Council:
“Our mission is to protect life and property, preserve the constitutional rights of every citizen and to vigorously enforce the laws of the United States of America and the Great State of Alabama”. This is the mission of the Huntsville Police Department. On October 13, 2009, Williams Middle School held a PTA meeting. The meeting was unruly, due to the PTA not following its by-laws for the conduct of the meeting. A parent and PTA member objected to the conduct of the meeting. He made motions which were properly seconded. He was ignored. And so on.
A school security guard announced to the audience, ‘raise your hand to speak’. This parent raised his hand. A Huntsville Police Officer approached the parent and ordered him to ‘lower his hand’.
This police officer’s actions were incongruent with the mission of ‘preserving the constitutional rights of every citizen’.
I bring this to the attention of Chief Reyes with the request that he review the guidelines for providing security at public meetings and that he consider whatever corrective measures he thinks best for the department.
Woohoo! I think this speech will really raise the roof! Thoughts?