By Veronica Mackey
Tuesday’s council meeting began with one person being forcibly removed for shouting expletives at Mayor James Butts, over delayed investigations concerning the deaths of Kisha Michael and Marquintan Sandlin by police.
It is two months past the time Mayor Butts estimated the investigation might be complete. Supporters of the couple and their families returned to keep the case in the public’s eye.
A man named Jeremy referred to an L.A. Times interview with Michael’s mother. “Imagine being told by police that she was found dead…but they weren’t found dead. They were found alive … before being killed by police.”
Another man asked that a fund be set up for the children of Michael and Sandlin. “Kisha was shot 13 times and she has 3 children, and Marquintan was shot 7 times and he was 4 children,” he said.
One woman referred to Butts as “unresponsive,” and one who “lacked compassion and empathy.”
Michael’s sister expressed frustration over waiting over a year to find out what happened. James Butts re-explained, as he has for several weeks now, that the City has no control over how long the investigation takes. “It’s not good enough,” she said.
“You have to do what the law allows. This is not to take away anything from the family. It has to go through its due process,” a man said.
“It’s very disappointing when folks come up here and attack the mayor. You obviously don’t know the mayor. This is a man of compassion…he’s a standup person,” said Councilman Alex Padilla.
Councilman George Dotson addressed comments that he was working to collect a paycheck. “I worked (as Planning Commissioner) for this city for 25 years and I didn’t get a dime for it. I don’t do this job for a salary and I resent that you say that.”
The LAPD Academy on Manchester, off Aviation, is having a classic car show at 8am on April 29, Councilman Padilla, a classic car enthusiast, said. He also announced a Cinco de Mayo celebration on Friday, May 5 at 6pm at 8049 W. Manchester Blvd., next to the Elk’s Club. Padilla will be cooking tacos, rice and beans.
Councilman Ralph Franklin, acknowledged the growing frustration over the deaths of Michael and Sandlin and the public’s desire for answers: “The 2 losses are painful, my daughter knew Kisha,” he said.
“In my neighborhood last weekend,” Franklin continued, “individuals raced down a boulevard. One lost control of the vehicle and killed an innocent victim—a single parent trying to raise a family. Justice—it may be slow, but it’s going to be right. This council will take action based on the information that we receive, and we, again, give our condolences.”
“We listen, we are affected, we’re human beings,” Councilman Eloy Morales said about Michael and Sandlin. “A month ago, the mayor took time to meet with a small group of family members. I can tell you there are attorneys who would advise ‘that’s probably not a good idea.’ That took a certain amount of courage.”
“We heard a number of different facets of this case…But it wasn’t a murder, it was use-of-force, resulting in two people being killed. I spent 37 years in law enforcement, and I am used to being held ultimately responsible. That means you have to insure the right thing is done. No one in this country is every charged with anything without due process,” the mayor said.
“The city councils don’t prosecute people; the district attorney’s office does that. If an officer is terminated and wishes to have his case heard, that’s when we become the judge and jury. That is the only time everything would be made public.
“The biggest mistake I made was trying to approximate when I thought the process would be over. We can’t give you what we don’t have to give. We have no input or knowledge of how long the district attorney will take.”
A public hearing was set for May 16 at 2pm. Council members will consider adopting an ordinance to change sections of the Municipal Code related to the dumping of bulky items within the City. Council members must approve new rates reflected in an agreement with Consolidated Disposal Service, LLC to pick up excessive bulky item set outs.
Authorization was given to the mayor to execute an amendment to an agreement with the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority to extend the ITS Phase IV-A funding lapse date to June 30, 2017.
A public hearing was set for May 9 at 2pm to consider amending various sections of the Inglewood Municipal Code. The ordinance regulates the use and discharge of fireworks and imposes administrative fines for the unlawful use or possession of illegal fireworks. Changes would also be made to the monetary amount the City may impose as a criminal penalty and administrative fine for any violations.
City Treasurer Wanda Brown reported that the City’s investment portfolio is now around $173 million. “That’s 10 times the amount I started with,” she said. Brown added that the treasurer’s report used to be “roughly about a 3-page document, it’s now a 12-page document.”