Officers on hand, but not needed after all

Several police officers were on standby at City Hall last night (I only saw a couple; City Manager Bob Deis said there were three or four) as a precaution for the City Council’s special meeting.

Here’s why: Although the meeting was only called to evaluate three council appointees (one of them got promoted), the agenda had a routine section for public comment before the council went into closed session.

Protesters have been coming to recent City Council meetings, using public comment to speak out against the officer-involved shooting death of 16-year-old James Rivera. But at special meetings, public comment can only be made on agenda items, so Rivera comments would not have been allowed last night.

Worried that people planning to speak on Rivera might show up, not get to talk and be angry, officers were requested to be on hand, Deis said last night. (Last week, when Mayor Ann Johnston cut off public comment after nearly two hours, there was a momentary disturbance in City Hall).

Turns out, no one showed up last night for public comment anyway.

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