Proposal Targets People Who Disrupt Public Meetings
By Rick Smith, Reporter
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - The City Council’s Public Safety Committee on Monday will discuss enacting a new city ordinance designed to make it easier to arrest someone who disrupts a public meeting, and easier to ban the person from City Hall for a period of time.
The Police Department is recommending the new city “criminal trespass” ordinance.
The new city law would not preclude the use of current state criminal laws that make it a crime to disturb the peace and disturb a public meeting, the department notes in a report to the City Council.
Under the proposed new city ordinance, the city manager would direct the police chief to hold a hearing with the person cited for a violation so the chief could recommend if the person should be restricted from certain city property and for how long.
The ordinance proposal comes two weeks after City Hall critic and past City Council candidate Robert Bates vented in the City Council chambers immediately after a special council meeting, yelling at Mayor Ron Corbett and others.
Another City Hall critic, Lisa Kuzela, is scheduled to go on trial in November on a charge of simple assault after a June incident at City Hall when she is accused of striking Sandi Fowler, assistant to the city manager, in the face. At the time, Fowler had picked up a phone to call police after Kuzela allegedly had become disruptive.
A Linn County magistrate has issued a no-contact order against Kuzela, ordering her to stay away from Fowler. However, the magistrate has said Kuzela can continue to attend city meetings.
Kuzela is appealing the no-contact order, a move that the Linn County Attorney’s Office is resisting.
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