Supporters of former police chief Paul Prine showed up to the Mobile City Council meeting Tuesday dressed as clowns and were eventually escorted out of council chambers after addressing the council.

Rena Chapa dressed in a clown wig because she feels the administration is a "circus." She said it was unfair that Prine received a subpoena in an investigation by Bradley Arant Boult Cummings, but city officials did not.

"I want to know why," said Chapa. "When you testify, and you're doing an investigation, that's part of it, getting a subpoena for everyone involved so you can get to the truth."

Council attorney Michael Linder said all testimony is taken under oath. He said the Birmingham-based law firm looking into Prine's allegations of possible improprieties asked for the subpoenas to interview individuals but no longer needed them after the city agreed to cooperate.

"We gotta get a backbone," Chapa argued. "Why have a council if you're not going to check and balance the administration in the City of Mobile? If there was threats made to any of y'all, shame on that. Because we're here to get to the truth of why the allegations the chief made."

Community activist and Prine supporter Sabrina Mass, also dressed in a wig and glasses for the meeting, said the whole situation has broken public trust. She said the city administration is getting special treatment and questioned why the council wouldn't use the powers it has under the Zohgby Act to issue subpoenas to all parties.

"See, this is a game," Mass said. "Because y 'all want to think we're some clowns out here. We're going to dress the part. Since you think we're ignorant out here about subpoenas, we're going to act ignorant."

"But let you know, we are not ignorant," she continued. "This year too said, as mama said, 'if you have nothing to hide, let it ride.' Well, my mama said, 'play slow, lay low, and let it flow.' Flow them subpoenas on out."

Linder added that the council still has the power to issue subpoenas if investigators need them in the future.

While Linder and Councilman William Carroll were discussing the matter, Council President CJ Small recessed the meeting and asked officials to remove Chapa and Mass after they made out-of-order comments from the gallery.

The council has approved spending $200,000 on the 45-day investigation.

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