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Charlottesville City Council Meeting Ends Abruptly, Residents Express Concerns

Posted: Updated: Aug 22, 2017 01:29 AM
Sign displayed at city council meeting Sign displayed at city council meeting
Sign displayed at council meeting "Signer Resign" Sign displayed at council meeting "Signer Resign"
Vice-mayor Wes Bellamy, trying to calm crowds Vice-mayor Wes Bellamy, trying to calm crowds
Woman being arrested at city council meeting Woman being arrested at city council meeting
Don Gathers, speaking at the podium Don Gathers, speaking at the podium
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -

There is more unrest in Charlottesville as city council's regular meeting abruptly ended.

A protest erupted inside Charlottesville city council chambers August 21 as councilors held their first meeting since deadly violence played out in city streets on August 12.

The crowd screamed at councilors and eventually took over the meeting, which caused the police that were present to intervene.

The emotional crowd vows to see the statue taken down, even if it is by their own hands.

At one point, councilors and city staff fled the room as protestors jumped up where the council sits. Two protestors held a banner saying "Blood on your Hands."

"You had multiple opportunities to intervene and you did not intervene one time.  We told you exactly what you needed to do and you did nothing," said an unidentified man at the meeting. 

The people in the crowd demanded answers about recent events that occurred in the city. 

“You want to call yourself the capital of resistance the resistance was the medics that saved lives. The resistance are the citizens who are identifying the perpetrators of hate crimes,” said Emily Gorcenski.

They wanted someone held accountable.

"Somebody has to be held accountable not only for the blood of those three lives but for every injury that happened this past weekend.  And I'll be damned if I see another one of my brothers or sisters get beaten or die,” said Don Gathers. 

Charlottesville police officers flooded council chambers in an attempt to keep the crowd calm. Three people were hauled out of the chambers and arrested.

“You can drag citizens out of here. Your officers and look at the officers you brought here tonight versus who is usually here. What kind of statement are you all making?" said Nikuyah Walker.

The crowd called for the three people arrested to be released. At one point vice-mayor Wes Bellamy assured the crowd that those individuals would be released.

A police officer told NBC29 that those three were given a summons for being disorderly.

After a three hour public comment period that councilors allowed following the disruption, City Manager Maurice Jones addressed several questions that were brought up during that time. 

The council then decided that they would present motions that were relevant to the discussions of the night. 

Kristen Szakos moved to request action from the Board of Architectural Review to remove the statues, since the issue falls under city design jurisdiction. All councilors were in favor of said motion. 

Szakos then moved for the council to put a plan in motion to cover the Robert E. Lee statue and the Stonewall Jackson statue with black fabric as a symbol of mourning to the victims of the violence. All of the councilors were in favor of this motion as well. 

Other issues such as having Heather Heyer’s family come forward to decide the best way to memorialize Heyer were brought up.

Regularly scheduled agenda items and other issues were agreed to be addressed at later meetings. 

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