Wrap-up of protestors involved in Occupy City Council meeting
By John Smist | June 16, 2020 at 10:49 PM EDT – Updated June 17 at 4:10 AM
WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – The Wilmington Advocacy and Protest Organization (WAPO) held a protest at the Wilmington City Council meeting Tuesday night at the Convention Center downtown.
WAPO called for an “Occupy the City Council Meeting” protest. Members of the Black Lives Matters protests marched from the steps of City Hall to join.
Only a limited number of protesters were allowed into the meeting because the center said they needed to follow the orders of the state for mass gatherings.
WAPO protesters spoke during the public hearing portion of the meeting asking the council for seven demands.
- Five million dollars re-allocated for community-led restorative justice.
- Citizen Review Board with subpoena power and budget power.
- Required therapy and anonymous access to Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs).
- Required cultural competency and training on local history.
- Mandatory use of body cams when engaging with the public.
- Deprioritize misdemeanor drug offenses
- Instate Chief Williams as official police chief.
Angela Colon of WAPO voiced her displeasure with the money allocated for police in the 2021 city budget that was approved.
“Wilmington has essentially given a blank check policy to their police on vague descriptions of need,” said Colon. “Their needs need much more scrutiny. As it currently stands, this budget is not acceptable.”
Colon asked for the meeting to be postponed until a new budget was drafted, but the ability to do so had already passed.
Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo did tell Colon that it is police policy that officers’ body cameras must be on when they are engaged with the public.
Saffo also addressed the money for the police department in the budget.
“I’ve had the opportunity to speak to interim Chief Donny Williams,” said Saffo. “This budget is needed based on the services of the calls we get every single day. One of the primary goals of the City of Wilmington is to protect our community and make it safe.”
The council didn’t take action on the status of interim police Chief Donny Williams.
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