Watch video of Prentice’s arrest below the story
Tuesday’s Planning & Zoning Commission meeting started with a bang when chair Bill Taylor called for a roll call vote on adoption of general goals developed during a group retreat last week.
Thom Prentice, whose 2012 mayoral bid was marked by a bombastic emphasis on global warming and the excesses of capitalism, interrupted commissioners as they voted with a demand to address the commission. Taylor told him that he could do so — during the designated citizen comment period that was next on the agenda.
“After you vote? After you vote then you will hear from the citizens? Is that the way democracy is supposed to work, sir?” Prentice asked indignantly.
As Prentice posted up behind the lectern and continued his criticism, the police officer on duty in city council chambers approached him. Morris began to insist that Prentice be removed from the chambers as the officer, Byron Mobley, tried to convince Prentice to leave voluntarily, which he eventually did with a little tugging from the cop. Then assistant city attorney Sam Aguirre chimed in unprompted to say that the commission chair, not Morris, is responsible for deciding who can speak and who cannot. Taylor responded that he, too, had asked that Prentice be removed from the meeting.
“We were both asking that he be removed,” Taylor said, although the video seems to show Taylor sitting silently while the melodrama unfolded and Morris took charge.
A few hours later, Prentice attempted to re-enter the meeting and, when Mobley told Prentice he was barred from the chamber, a ruckus ensued. Taylor recessed the meeting and, a few minutes later, two other officers showed up and arrested Prentice, who told a reporter filming the encounter that he was gaining weight as police led the onetime candidate out of City Hall in handcuffs.
Prentice told Mobley that “his job is to go get bin Laden,” apparently unaware that bin Laden has been dead for more than two years.
“Sir, I’m not in the military. I’m a police officer,” Mobley replied, dryly.
Prentice is charged with disrupting a public meeting, a Class B misdemeanor, and resisting arrest, a Class A misdemeanor. Arresting officer Tony Scott said it is possible criminal charges will not be pursued given Prentice’s questionable mental state.
UPDATED 10:14 a.m. MAY 15: Names of the officers were added.Email | Print