Film Fest Could Relocate After Taser Controversy 9-14-2010 - WNEM TV 5

Film Fest Could Relocate After Taser Controversy 9-14-2010

Saginaw police have been taking heat from community members who don't support the use of Tasers on troublemakers at a local film fest, but Saginaw Lawn Chair Film Festival organizers are defending the police department.
Organizers are speaking out about troublemakers around the annual summer festival, which can draw hundreds of people to downtown Saginaw.
The problems are causing them to rethink the festival all together.
"The real issue isn't the people that come to watch the movie," said event organizer Bill Giorgis. "It's the people who come to just hang out, to see and be seen and be disruptive."
This summer, police used Tasers on three people in the general seating area during the festival. Recently the Saginaw City Council heard from residents who said the incidents were racially motivated.
Police and festival organizers said that's not the case.
"We met with the NAACP immodestly after that, [and] I made all the reports available," said Saginaw Police Chief Gerald Cliff. "They now have all the facts. I don't really anticipate hearing anything more about the negativity."
"I don't believe that anything has to do with racial profiling; it's behavioral profiling," said Giorgis. Festival organizers want to make sure they don't have any problems next year.
"We're going to work very hard to make sure [the festival] continues," said Giorgis.
"I have committed to meet with the organizers of the Lawn Chair Film Festival to come up with a better plan," said Cliff. "I don't want to see something that positive from the community go away. I think that would be a crime."
Representatives from the Saginaw Police Department will meet with organizers in early 2011 to talk about the future of the film festival.
They said if they're still concerned about problems, they might have to change locations.
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