DSM is evaluating extra safety and decorum protocols after dozens of protestors disrupted Monday's City Council meeting, city officials told Axios.
Driving the news: Demonstrators showed up to the council's first in-person meeting of the year with defund police signs, demanding that the city deny a nearly $11K police officer training proposed for later this summer.
Why it matters: While the protests were peaceful, some are concerned they put public safety at risk, including to demonstrators themselves.
- City leaders are now warning of arrests or citations if such disruptions continue at future meetings.
- Plus: Unruly meetings make it difficult for citizens to tell elected officials about their concerns.
What they're saying: The council chambers "are like a pressure cooker," and high emotions in such a crowded space can spark panic, Police Sgt. Paul Parizek told Axios yesterday.
- The actions of a single person in intense group settings can result in behavior that runs counter to the larger group's intentions, he said.
Yes, but: Monday's disruptions are the result of people feeling unheard, Lisa Whelan, of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, told Axios.
- Protesters believe the council has failed to make substantive progress on issues involving police, like racial profiling, pretextual stops and excessive marijuana possession enforcement.
Flashback: DSM's problems with decorum during meetings have been going on for months.
- Rules adopted last year at times limited speakers to less than 30 seconds. Policies have changed, but critics argue they're still too restrictive.
What's next: Monday’s public hearing portion of the council meetings will begin virtually this morning at 7:30am.
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