Arrest Disrupts Meeting Again
For the second consecutive week, police arrested a resident at a City Council meeting.
John Marshall Lawrence, 66, who had been forcibly ejected from two previous council meetings in the past month, was charged with disrupting a public meeting Monday night when he refused to leave after being told to do so by Mayor Donna Smith and a Pomona police officer.
Police took Lawrence to the nearby police station, where he remained in custody Wednesday in lieu of $250 bail.
The mayor had ruled Lawrence out of order when he rose from his seat in the audience to address the council as it discussed a proposed public safety commission. The council had not yet opened the issue to public comment.
After Lawrence loudly rebuffed Smith’s request that he sit down and be quiet, the mayor told him he was out of order and called a brief recess. Pomona Police Sgt. Leon Sakemoto tried to escort Lawrence from the meeting, but the man sat down and refused to leave. Sakemoto and Fire Inspector Connie A. Alvarez then carried Lawrence from the council chambers as a newspaper photographer and two residents snapped pictures of the incident.
Last week, police forcibly escorted Lawrence from the council chambers because he refused to stop speaking after exceeding the 5-minute limit for public comment.
Lawrence’s removal from the council chambers last week led to an altercation in which resident Al Ramirez loudly accused police of violating Lawrence’s civil rights. Ramirez was arrested after he refused to leave the meeting. Monday night Ramirez stood outside the council chambers building and handed out leaflets but did not attend the meeting.