DECATUR — Monday's Decatur City Council public comment session started with cooler heads prevailing, much to the surprise of many in the room, given that just over a week prior, Decatur police had arrested three protesters and detained the widow of Steve Perkins, Catrela Perkins, during "3rd Friday" festivities.

Speakers again complained about Mayor Tab Bowling's absence from the public comment portion, which he has not participated in since January. Councilman Kyle Pike agreed that he felt the Mayor should be present. They also continued their demands for his resignation and that of police chief Todd Pinion.

Sierra Taylor, the wife of Derek Taylor, who was also arrested during the "3rd Friday" festivities, questioned Councilman Carlton McMasters regarding his role as the liaison for the police department to the council and claimed he asked if he had worked with members of the public, activists, protesters, etc., regarding police response.

McMaster said he had been communicating and that not everyone in the room at the time would be aware of the conversations or meetings he had had. He went on to say that he had been clear since day one that he felt the only way the issue would be fixed was by keeping lines of communication open.

Many speakers, including Mrs. Taylor, spoke regarding the arrest during the "3rd Friday festivities" and raised concerns mainly regarding two supervisors with the Decatur Police Department (DPD) and their actions that day. The speakers claimed Pinion was present during Catrela Perkins' arrest and that after the Chief had initially ordered her to be released, those officers were reluctant to obey their Chief's command.

SEE ALSO: Decatur Police arrest protesters, detain widow of Steve Perkins

Issues regarding the way individuals arrested were handled were also brought up; Mrs. Taylor also said that her husband was sick at the time of the protest, and that was the cause for him wearing a mask to the event to avoid COVID-19 or triggering his COPD.

According to WAFF, Decatur Police approached Derek Taylor and asked him to remove the mask he was wearing during the protest. After exchanging words with the officers, Taylor eventually complied but was still arrested and taken to a nearby patrol car.

At this point during the meeting, the crowd started to become more vocal with the speakers, which is against the rules but is generally allowed as long as members of the audience do not get out of hand.

Mrs. Taylor ended her remarks by appearing to threaten violence if something didn't change soon.

"We're done being peaceful if we can't be met with the same peace we've been giving. Have y'all heard of the black militia group? Have yall heard of black panthers? Did yall see what happened with George Floyd? I don't want that to happen to this community, but if we are continued to be met with this kind of force they will be here!"

This statement was met by roaring applause from the crowd.

The final speaker, who had repeatedly requested to be the last member to speak, called Councilman Hunter Pepper's father into question for saying things at a local Huddle House that some considered inappropriate. The man said that he did not acknowledge Pepper's father but that he did begin to record him and that Pepper's father began to say that his son would have him locked up.

Pepper questioned the man about the recording and asked that he produce it, saying, "Let's hear it." The man responded by saying that it was on TikTok. Without producing the recording, the man went on to claim that Pepper's father said his son was tired of hearing from them and hearing their complaints.

At this point, the gentleman turned away from the Council and faced the audience in a blatant attempt to rally a crowd. Seeing this, McMaster attempted to gavel the session into order and, without luck, gaveled the meeting to adjourn.

Shouting continued until the gentleman who sparked the crowd called for them to leave, and chants of "no justice, no peace" and expletives towards the police echoed throughout the chamber and outside corridor.

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