In what has become a regular occurrence, several people were again thrown out of a Metro Council meeting Wednesday night.
Any mention of the Baton Rouge Police Department — in the most recent case it was news that they'd be featured in a TV show — prompts confrontational discussion of Alton Sterling, who was fatally shot by city police last year.
Arthur "Silky Slim" Reed said Baton Rouge officers shouldn't be made to look like heroes on TV following Sterling's death. As he began to talk about the shooting, Mayor Pro Tem Scott Wilson ordered the sergeant at arms to remove Reed from the chambers for speaking off topic.
"You're gonna get your day!" Reed yelled, pointing at Wilson as he was led out.
He was removed at another recent meeting after saying that "justice came when Gavin Long came," referencing the shooter who killed three local law enforcement officers last summer.
As Baton Rouge officials received an update Wednesday on the Alton Sterling shooting investi…
The Sterling case is currently under review by the state Attorney General's office. Speakers have said they will continue to bring up Sterling to the Council until the case is resolved.
While Reed is perhaps the most incendiary speaker, others have also been tossed from meetings over the past few months, including Myra Richardson, who has made reference to Wilson's family and personal life. She was also removed Wednesday.
Wilson, who runs the Council meetings, said in an interview that he has no plans to permanently ban anyone but also reiterated that he won't abide disruption.
"This is the place where we do the city-parish's business. ... They want to talk about their own personal agendas and political agendas," he said.
Recent meetings have had full agendas and run long already, and off-topic discussions grind proceedings to a halt, the pro tem said. He invited those who want to speak their mind to do so on the steps of City Hall, outside where meetings are held.
"You can be civil and still be against something," Wilson said.
Baton Rouge activist Arthur "Silky Slim" Reed is known for his theatrics, which recently inc…
Wednesday's flare-up came amidst discussion of a new TV show that will partner Baton Rouge police officers with their critics. It drew the ire of the Metro Council.
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"This is to show two sides of the story … to show the quality of our community and the quality of our police," said Film Commission Executive Director Katie Pryor.
But council members from both parties hated the idea.
"This is awful," Chandler Loupe said.
"What's the benefit to the police department? Or what's the benefit to the community? Tell me a benefit," he challenged Pryor.
Loupe pointed out that the city-parish isn't getting any money for its participation. He wondered aloud if the civilian participants will be called to testify on cases they witness, and what will happen if one is involved in a high-speed chase or altercation with a dangerous suspect.
"I see liability," he said.
However, the preview was purely informational; the council has no authority to stop production.
Not all the members were as critical as Loupe. Matt Watson said the show would be a "great opportunity" to show off the city to a wider audience.
But both Donna Collins-Lewis and Chauna Banks worried that the officers involved would make the department look squeaky clean and not be representative of the force at large.
Collins-Lewis asked her colleagues whether the show would do anything to improve the department. It's not a training tool, it's a commercial endeavor, Watson responded.
Interim Police Chief Jonny Dunnam told the council he isn't going to force any of his officers to participate in the program, and Pryor said there would be a try-out of sorts to select the officers to be followed.
Shooting is likely to begin in October or September, she continued. The show will be produced by Morningstar Productions but hasn't been sold to a particular network yet.
Producers haven't decided which patrol areas will be featured or which residents will participate, Pryor said, though she invited the council's input.
"Can I ride along?" asked Sandra Sterling, Alton Sterling's aunt.