Cedar Rapids considers ban for disruptive behavior in city buildings
Written by Jason Epner, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) -
The Cedar Rapids Police Department is asking for harsher penalties for people who disrupt public meetings.
A new ordinance is being discussed that would empower city officials to act when deemed appropriate.
The proposal is in response to a couple of recent verbal outbursts at city hall.
Lisa Kuzela has been actively critical of the city's flood recovery efforts, many times calmly voicing her concerns at the conclusion of city meetings.
But in June, Kuzela says she uncharacteristically lost her temper while in city hall trying to address a flood recovery issue she believed was being put aside.
Kuzela was charged with assaulting the city manager's special assistant, a charge Kuzela denies.
"I was in a panicked state, extremely frustrated, but there was no assault," Kuzela said.
City staff say they've also had issues with other outspoken critics, including one who began yelling at staff during a recent city council meeting.
Officials are now trying to put a stop to the disruptive behavior, discussing an ordinance that would ban people from city property for a specific period of time who are disruptive there.
"I think there's limitations as to the conduct of how people present themselves when they want to disagree with you, and I think that's where we are trying to get some sort of ground rules established," said city council member Chuck Swore.
Critics see the proposal as unconstitutional.
"If somebody says something that they don't want to hear, and merely raises their tone in a firm manner, they can silence that person," Kuzela said.
The ordinance is still in the process of being drafted.
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