On Monday, Mayor Tab Bowling walked out of the public comment portion of the City's council meeting just two speakers in.
Bowling made a statement regarding the postponement of the appeals from the four officers' disciplinary hearings and said the matter now lies with the "independent personnel board," adding any criminal charges are under the jurisdiction of District Attorney Scott Anderson.
Bowling said, "While the public comments initially provided a valuable avenue for community expression, it has become evident that many comments are no longer constructive."
"Regrettably, some have resorted to baseless accusations and threats directed towards me, my family, City Council members, and others in the city," he added. "I do not believe that these false comments and threats are reflective of the people of Decatur."
Several citizens were unhappy with his decision and started making comments of displeasure towards Bowling as he stood up and walked out of the meeting.
The mayor said that he will continue to attend city council meetings. However, he will not stay for the public comment portion in the future. Bowling said his office remains open to the public but only by appointment.
The mayor previously had announced that protest permits and noise ordinances would again be enforced after complaining of protesters outside his home.
"I want to assure those concerned that I have heard your voices," Bowling said. "I cannot, however, continue to allow these disruptions in any neighborhood in our city."
"After, again consulting our legal department, I have conceded to what they and law enforcement have been advising me from the beginning, that the right to protest should not and may not infringe on the rights of others and the rule of law must be restored to allow peace for all of our citizens," he added.
These protests and continued heated public comments at Decatur's city council meetings have been ongoing since Stephen Perkins was shot and killed during a confrontation with the Decatur Police in September 2023. Three of the four officers involved were fired, and one was suspended, which the officers have appealed.
In addition, the family of Perkins has filed a federal lawsuit in the Northern District of Alabama against the City of Decatur, the four officers involved, Pentagon Federal Credit Union, All Star Recovery LLC and two men identified as Credit union or towing company agents.
Watch the mayor's comments here.
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