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HEATED CITY COUNCIL MEETING: Man escorted out amid council's move to change citizen comments

Posted at 6:50 AM, Dec 01, 2023

KILLEEN, Texas — Tuesday's City Council meeting in Killeen got heated when it came to an agenda item to remove citizen petitions from the meetings. Some people feel that infringes on free speech while the council said the move is only a change to how the the public brings up items not on the agenda.

  • The council voted to end the citizen petition process as an option to bring up concerns not on the agenda.
  • Members of the public can still bring those issues up at meetings but in the format of citizen comments and not until all other council business is concluded.
  • Camron Cochran, a Killeen resident that attended the meeting when he saw this item in the agenda, was escorted out of council chambers after responding to a council member's comments in the subject.
  • Cochran stood up form his seat in the audience and was asked to take his seat. He did not and was eventually escorted out by police.

BROADCAST TRANSCRIPT:

Camron Cochran attended Tuesday’s meeting because he saw removing the citizen’s petition was on the agenda.

During the meeting he was escorted out by police.

He was accused of aggressively approaching the dais, but the video doesn’t clearly show that.

”I was asked to leave,” said Cochran. “I tuned, I walked left, a council member was still speaking. I replied to his comments and the chief of police put his hand on my shoulder and said time to leave.”

He was responding, from his seat in the audience, to a council member's comments while they were discussing citizens' petitions.

The petition option allowed non agenda items to be brought up.

The council voted to remove that option during the meeting but there is a new option for citizens to voice their concerns.

”At the end of the meeting, after business has concluded and before they adjourn, citizens will have 3 minutes to discuss anything that is city related,” said Mellisa Brown, former Killeen City Councilmember.

It’s a change former city council member Brown has been pushing for.

”Since before I was a council member, I advocated for citizens to be able to come in and speak about whatever was on their mind,” said Brown.

Now they can but not until the very end of the meeting.

There are mixed opinions on citizens bringing up non-agenda items at council meetings.

Cochran said he holds no ill will toward the council and still plans to continue attending the meetings on a regular basis.