The unfortunate death of Anthony Childs has had a major impact on recent city council meetings. And most of it not good.
The sagging pants ordinance has been a significant source of citizen concern. Hopefully the council will repeal this ordinance on Tuesday. Seemingly no more public comments are needed on that issue.
Other issues raised by many speakers are not in the jurisdiction of the council.
The Caddo Coroner and the Caddo District Attorney are elected officials. They do not report to the council, or for that matter the mayor.
Shreveport has a police review board - the Municipal Fire and Police Civil Service Board. This board is established by state law.
Complaints over the actions of any police officer should be made to this board, which has the power to investigate. The mayor and the council do not have this authority under the current civil service board act.
The police chief reports to the mayor, not the council. Removal of the chief from his provisional position will require the approval of the civil service board.
Neither the mayor nor the council may establish a citizen police review board. This will require the enactment of special legislation next year by the state legislature.
The mayor held a forum to hear citizen comments on the establishment of citizen review board. He has promised to follow up on this meeting.
These facts do not diminish the impact of Child’s death nor distract from his loss. However those that speak to the council and those in the audience should understand and accept this reality.
Exceeding time limits, using insulting and derogatory remarks, and audience comments are not appropriate. In the minds of many the disorderly conduct diminishes the impact of the citizen complaints.
The civil disobedience which has been increasing at recent council meetings must be stopped. Democracy demands it.