By Veronica Mackey
At Tuesday’s council meeting, activists who expressed frustration over the pace of investigations into the shooting deaths of Kisha Michael and Marquintan Sandlin by police were given advice by others in the audience. The couple was killed 15 months ago. Investigations by the police department and L.A. County District Attorney’s Office are currently being conducted.
A woman brought a bouquet of pink flowers to illustrate that Michael’s children couldn’t give flowers to her on Mother’s Day. Monica Walker, however, is “in support of the Inglewood Police Dept. and their handling of matters with the City. They will investigate and handle it accordingly,” she said. Mayor James Butts interjected, “The only thing you will ever know (from Inglewood Council members) is if the police are still on the payroll. There will never be a discussion of this event and I’ve said that three times now.”
Ray Davis explained why it is important to respect the police officers’ right to due process: “We’ve been down this path before…When politicians and elected officials fail to do their duties. In the Donovan Jackson case, the police had their civil rights taken. Maxine Waters came in here grandstanding—her, Al Sharpton and Jessie Jackson. We had a weak mayor and the city was sued for $5 million, because their (police officers) civil rights were violated. That’s why we’re doing it by the book.”
Erick Holly, president of the Inglewood Airport Area Chamber of Commerce, said “You guys are attacking the wrong forum. If you want to be on somebody’s doorstep, you need to go to the D.A.’s Office. That’s where it needs to be, not here.”
Frederick Shaw, 1st Vice President of the NAACP, came to the meeting to “create awareness about a major problem in the field of mental health. They want to use electric shock machines on children. Under Medicaid, they have been shocking children in the last 4 years from 0-5 years of age.”
A man asked the council to make more money and resources available to help keep Inglewood clean. He told the audience, “If you see someone drive around and put garbage on the street, say something.”
The council approved an agreement with the Los Angeles County Arts Commission for a Community Impact Arts Grant in the amount of $10,200. The Fiscal Year 2016-2017 budget will be amended to reflect the receipt of $91,300 in grant funds from Los Angeles Lakers Youth Foundation and Los Angeles Lakers, Inc., and previously authorized reserve funds in the amount of $54,350 for repairs to the Rogers Park and Darby Park basketball courts.
During closing remarks, Councilman George Dotson announced that Inglewood will again participate in the American Cancer Society’s Annual Relay for Life fundraiser. “It’s coming up on June 10, and I’m asking all of you to join Team Dotson. You can volunteer and join my team.” Dotson also congratulated Mayor Butts for receiving an award from Ability First, a nonprofit that serves people with special needs.
Councilman Alex Padilla also commented on Relay for Life. “It’s about bringing awareness,” he said. “You walk around the track and you walk in memory of loved ones who are either fighting cancer or who have lost the battle. It will kick off here at Crozier Middle School at 9am.”
Councilman Ralph Franklin acknowledged the recent passing of Lorraine Shaw, a 52-year Inglewood resident. “She will be missed, along with her husband Dr. Ernest Shaw, who served on the Inglewood School Board. May they both rest in peace.” Franklin also thanked people who came to his District 4 Town Hall meeting last week. “We talked about Alzheimer’s, and veteran’s care. Everyone appreciated the information covered at that meeting.”
“Ernest Shaw helped my (family) start a soccer league in Inglewood in the 80s when there was a small Latino population. They helped make the City of Inglewood an example for the rest of the world, to see how well different cultures get along,” Councilman Eloy Morales said.
Morales nominated and Butts appointed Josie Perez to the Inglewood Library Commission.
Butts took the final minutes of the meeting to address a woman who criticized him for allowing someone to speak beyond the one-minute time limit.
“No one in here is superior, you have no right to sit in the audience and interrupt anyone. I’m going to warn you in advance, don’t talk out ... If it is disruptive, we will close the meeting and we will leave.”
Regarding the Michael-Sandlin case, the mayor reiterated:
“A police officer’s personal records are privileged by state law. What we can talk about is whether or not someone is on the payroll. These officers (involved in the Michael-
Sandlin shootings) are on the payroll.”
Butts closed the meeting in honor of the late Lorraine Shaw as well as Erin Cooley and Sonia Lee, who recently passed on. Before the meeting was adjourned, Inglewood High School senior Beverly Vezile was recognized for her outstanding academic achievement. Vezile ranks number one out of 211students in her graduating class, with a GPA of 4.5. She is headed for UCLA.