Police arrested 6 people Thursday evening at a Flint church during a public town hall meeting on Flint Mayor Karen Weaver’s recommendation to stay on the Detroit water system which is what cause the poisoning problems the people of Flint have experienced over the past few years.
Flint police Chief Tim Johnson addressed the more than 100 people who were gathered at House of Prayer Missionary Baptist Church on West Carpenter Road prior to the town hall, asking men to remove their hats and issuing a warning not to disrupt the meeting, according to MLive.
“I just want to make sure this meeting goes off the way it’s supposed to and that everybody’s respecting everyone,” he said. “Please don’t be in here trying to disrupt this meeting, because if you do I’m going to escort you out and I’m only going to take you to the back door and then you’re going to jail. I’m not going to play with nobody tonight.”
Officers stopped men wearing hats from entering the church sanctuary unless they removed them, and men who would not remove their hats were asked to leave. Arguments occurred and people who used profanity also were escorted from the church.
“There’s a couple people that’s arrested,” Johnson said. “There’s a couple people cussing in the church, disorderly conduct.”
Several people questioned why the meeting was held at a church where Weaver, along with city, state and federal officials spoke with residents.
Johnson said he felt some people were only at the meeting to cause trouble.
“I guess they felt like they can do it anyway,” Johnson said. “That’s what they’re here for is to be agitators.”
Residents raised concerns over bacteria, the long-term medical impact of the water supply and medical support for those potentially contaminated with lead, and how they can ever trust the government again.
Thursday’s event is the only scheduled event where the public can ask officials about the city’s water future. Weaver said radio town halls may also be scheduled in the future to discuss the water recommendation, according to MLive.
The city says it’s giving residents until May 20 to comment on its future water source.
Weaver announced earlier this week that Flint should continue to purchase pre-treated water from the Great Lakes Water Authority, ranking a new 30-year contract with the GLWA as the top alternative available to the city in terms of cost, public health, reliability and ease of implementation.
(Article By Jeremiah Jones)