City Council Meeting Turns into Dramatic Mess

Drama erupted at Richmond City Council Monday evening. One person was even hauled out and put in handcuffs.

Richmond City Council was supposed to vote on the future of Monroe Park, but people continued disrupting because they didn’t like the plan. Things got so out of order that at one point, council members got up and walked out.

After numerous outbursts at City Council, Chris Dorsey was recording when police asked him to leave for being disruptive. When he resisted, three officers picked him up and carried him out.

Once outside, they put him in cuffs and he told us he was banned from going back inside.

All the commotion stemmed from disagreement over a plan to allow a non-profit to manage Monroe Park. People against the ordinance are worried about what will happen to the homeless people who live in the park.

“Right now they find that as their home,” says Kevin Starlings of the Jeremiah Memorial Foundation. “They don’t have anywhere else to go and speaking to a lot of individuals that we interact with, the thing is if they do this renovation, where do we go? This is the only place we know, you guys are trying to push us out.”  

At one point, City Council had to leave the chambers. Once they came back in, Councilwoman Michelle Mosby had had enough.

“Before you interrupt me again – because I didn’t interrupt you – we had some children here at the last meeting, and I would have hated for them to be here to see the disrespect that comes from the public here,” she said.

“Folks listen here. Next comment out of either of you, I will expel you too,” said Councilman Charles Samuels. “Disrupting the meeting does not resolve an issue.”

After all that commotion, City Council finally went on to approve the plan.

The non-profit Monroe Park Conservancy can now lease, manage and maintain the park for the next 30 years. The group will have to pay one dollar a year to lease the park. They’ll also have to raise $3 million.

“It will remain a public park,” Samuels says. “It will remain open to everyone and it will be wonderfully restored.”
Now that the ordinance has been approved, the non-profit will start raising $3 million. Another $3 million will come from taxpayers.

Copyright 2014 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond

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