Richmond City councilwoman: We're 'sitting ducks' - WNEM TV 5

Richmond City councilwoman: We're 'sitting ducks'

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How safe are Richmond city council meetings? One city council member says an episode with an armed man at Monday night's meeting is proof council members are "sitting ducks." 

"They feel like sitting ducks, too," said public safety chairwoman Reva Trammell.  "Because you can't see behind you. We don't have eyes in the back of our head."

Trammell is now calling for major security changes. It comes after a challenging week for council members.

Armed activist Chris Dorsey was removed from the chambers after an outburst was deemed out of order. But that is not all.

A group called "The Wingnut Anarchist Collective"  published the addresses of the mayor and several other city leaders this week. They asked people to protest and write letters over a discussion of privatizing Monroe Park. The homes of those leaders are now under police observation. 

"If you are afraid of this job then don't run for this office," said Trammell. "You can Google our names and get our addresses. I live at 2709 Haden Avenue."

Trammell wants more officers at the city council meetings. 

"Not for the safety of Reva," said Trammell. "But for the safety of our children that come down there. The teachers. The citizens...our staff."

Trammell also wants to see a better enforcement of media credentials at all meetings. 

"And let the police officers have control of the council chambers," said Trammell. 

Police Chief Ray Tarasovic admits some security "tweaks" are needed.

"There always need to be tweaks and changes," said Chief Tarasovic. "That is the nature of the business. Whether those be personnel...whether those be physical barrier changes."

Tarasovic says the challenge is finding a balance between safety and freedom of speech.

"So it's a difficult situation," said Tarasovic. "But one that we can manage." 

Trammell says she will discuss the security issue during her Public Safety meeting next week. It is also a topic on the agenda for her 8th District meeting Thursday night. The meeting starts at 6pm at the Satellite Restaurant on Jefferson Davis Highway.

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