April 13, 2017
The Daily Gazette
My AM Advantage Your Online Morning Newspaper Covering the Metro Flint Area
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"I warned them they would be taken to jail if they disrupted the meeting, and I did what I said I would do after their disorderly conduct... (A few of them) were sent here by someone as professional agitators."
— Chief Timothy Johnson
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Posted May 19, 2017
Flint police chief says six unruly individuals arrested at town hall were 'sent here by someone as professional agitators'
FLINT — The Morning Gazette Radio Show will report on Friday's broadcast that Flint Police Chief Timothy Johnson has revealed how two of six unruly individuals arrested at a recent town hall meeting were "sent here by someone as professional agitators."
Genesee County Prosecuting Attorney David Leyton announced in a press release Thursday that he will not issue charges against the six individuals.
"I warned them they would be taken to jail if they disrupted the meeting, and I did what I said I would do after their disorderly conduct," Chief Johnson said in his first public comments about the incident. The arrests at a town hall forum followed three individuals being escorted out of a press conference held at Flint City Hall a few days earlier. Both events were held by the city's mayor — Dr. Karen Weaver.
The mayor's press conference was to announce her controversial decision to recommend that the city not join the Karagondi Water Authority's new pipeline to supply drinking water. The town hall forum was held at a local church to allow public comment to begin during a 30-day period that ended on Thursday.
The KWA project was the reason why the city switched to using the Flint River in August 2014 after more than 30 years with the City of Detroit's pipeline from Lake Huron to Flint. The switch was made under Governor Rick Snyder's former emergency manager, Darnell Earley, as a temporary move until the KWA project could be completed, but the city switched back to Detroit's system after it was revealed that lead had leeched into pipes to cause a crisis that has made national headlines.
Mayor Weaver says she does not want to make another switch and "put our residents through that again." The city's drinking water is still not safe to drink without using filters on taps, according to officials.
Mayor Weaver has made no public comments about the arrests at the forum or about individuals being escorted out of the press conference at Flint City Hall.
"We're not going to have people disrupting public meetings," Chief Johnson said. "It's just not going to happen."
He said one individual arrested at the forum had arrests in Florida and another one had been arrested in both West Michigan and in Chicago. "They were sent here by someone as professional agitators to cause trouble," Chief Johnson said.
His comments came just a few hours before a press release from Prosecutor Leyton indicated that his office won't be bringing charges against any of the six arrested at the church for alleging disturbing the public forum by the mayor.
were arrested at a City of Flint town hall forum in
The six were arrested by City of Flint Police at a Flint church on April 20, 2017 during a
forum related to the city’s lead-tainted water crisis.
Prosecutor Leyton said that he received investigative reports from the Flint Police but,
after reviewing them, decided that he will not be issuing any charges.
“This incident involved a town hall meeting led by the Mayor concerning the City’s
longstanding crisis involving lead-tainted water,” said Prosecutor Leyton.
“Flint police made decisions that led to the arrest of six individuals related to allegations
of disorderly conduct. Based on the information I have received from the police, I will not
be issuing charges, either felonies or misdemeanors, under state law” he said.
Prosecutor Leyton indicated that the City of Flint attorney may still decide to issue
charges for possible violations of city ordinances.
Chief Johnson said he did not know if any of the unruly individuals at the recent forum are among the tent city residents who are camping out at Kearsley Park. License plates on vehicles there indicate that many are from out of state locations.