At the press conference Friday morning, our mayor passionately stated:
The Raleigh City Council supports our police chief … We have her back now, and we support her.Raleigh Mayor holds press conference after a week of protests in the city
The council member code of conduct states:
Members should never attempt to express an opinion on an issue as the position of the city unless the full council has endorsed that position.CODE OF CONDUCT FOR THE RALEIGH CITY COUNCIL
However, there is no public record of a meeting, motion, vote, or resolution wherein the council declared their support for the police chief. Based upon this it appears that our Mayor violated the council code of conduct, and if the the rules of the council are to mean anything can and should be sanctioned for it. It is hypocritical for the mayor to consistently note when members of the public violate decorum, and to gavel at other members of the council when she deems them in violation, only to go on and do so herself with such a bold affirmation very publicly during a politically tense moment with public confidence in RPD low (an understatement, I suspect). If this is just a misunderstanding, a vote on a resolution of support for our police chief should be held so that each council member enters their view into the public record.
Even after the events of this weekend, the RPD continues to astound with its brazen attacks on their fellow citizens. Friday we learned that the RPD instructed the Wake County Sheriff to serve a warrant unrelated to the RPD’s jurisdiction (certainly not worthy of rousing officers in the middle of the night over) against Conrad James (whose event drew an astounding crowd of three), in the dead of night because he “had caused a nuisance”: merely knocking on the front door of a police station asking that officers pass a list of his demands for reform onward to their chief officer, afterward even having a polite chat with the police chief that happened to make for a diffusing news piece that was nothing but glowing for the police chief and the RPD (the citizen heard! the chief opening her heart and pledging to seek a more perfect justice!).
And then the RPD went on to openly surveil him (speaking his name as a target over public radio bands) during the peaceful marches Friday night, and furthermore openly followed him back to his home as he left well before curfew.
These are clear acts of retribution on the part of RPD that they have openly admitted to intended to have a chilling effect on speech, and for what? Mere participation in a moment of protest? Mild criticism of the police department? Should I be afraid of a knock on my door at three in the morning for sending these letters? Is the RPD running background checks on everyone who called into the meeting Thursday evening in case they have some outstanding warrant or unpaid citation they could be harassed over? Which of us will they next descend upon in the dead of night in their attempt to intimidate the city into silence? There is no going back from this precipice: the mayor and police chief must go, no more of this “if immediate demands are not met” nonsense.
Furthermore, while the curfew may have been legal and justified the first night, at this point it is very clearly unconstitutional on a number of grounds, and grows more problematic with each passing day. The NC ACLU has noted its concern with very similar curfews imposed in Greensboro and High Point, and by the criteria listed in their June 1st article it is clear Raleigh’s curfew fails to pass muster.
This is the latest declaration from our mayor that impinges upon our basic right to free expression, showing a pattern of either fundamental misunderstanding of or outright contempt for the basic law of our land. That upon reflection her only regret is not putting a curfew into place with even less justification makes it feel like contempt is the likelier of the two.
Does the city council really stand for this: For tear gassing peaceful protesters (including at least one member of the city council)? For banally violating the basic civil liberties of Raleigh’s citizens? For allowing the police to terrorize and take vengeance upon anyone who dares question them?
I thought I was cynical, but every day this year is a surprise,
- Clinton Ebadi, Resident of District D