Highlights: Salisbury City Council Meeting on Tuesday November 15th

Posted on November 16, 2016

RFP Staff

♦ Yesterday a somewhat emotionally charged meeting took place down at Salisbury City Council.  The highlight of the entire meeting was during public commentary where nine citizens spoke out about the officer involved shooting during a “no knock warrant” raid, leading to the death of Ferguson Laurent on November 3rd.  The public commentary did not begin until 7 p.m. an hour after its regular start time.  Some in the audience questioned why they were forced to wait so long.

Those who spoke during public commentary mirrored the opinions of many throughout the city hold about “No Knock Warrants”–they are well known for putting both officers and the persons being served needlessly in harm’s way.  “No knock warrants” are not employed in many states.

The nine public commenters in speaking about the shooting touched on areas like the lack of inclusion in planning processes, neighborhoods remaining separate from other neighborhoods, the disconnect between the community and the police department, how “no knock warrants” impact the black community, and the scenario of officers barging through a door where someone has a gun and assumes someone is going to harm them.  One public commenter found it upsetting that the council spent so much time talking about dog parks and permits when children fear stepping outside of their front doors.

During the meeting Mayor Karen Alexander questioned city attorney Rivers Lawther if the council had any authority over no-knock warrants.  Lawther replied the “no-knock” policy was a tactical decision of the police department and they are held accountable for the warrant’s execution.  Lawther added through it was not usually what councils do, they can direct the city manager to tell the Police Chief that the city does not allow n0-knock warrants.

City Councilman Kenny Hardin stated he desired the council to revisit issue of “no knock warrants”.  He wanted to make sure the subject was in the minutes.  Mayor Alexander agreed.

In yesterday’s meeting city council failed to approve Forest Hills Park as a location for a dog park.  Several neighbors spoke against it.  Alexander, Blackwell, and Post voted against it.  While Hardin and Miller voted for it.  Some fireworks occurred between Councilman Hardin and Maggie Blackwell which ended with Blackwell apologizing.


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