Running amuck with three members of the elected City Council absent, Tuesday nights council meeting was led by Council Member Mary Penn and incredibly a very interesting
disagreement over the adoption of a juvenile curfew ordinance transpired between Council Member's Penn, Powers and Myers.
Early last month Council Member Mary Penn requested Police Chief Rob Sherwin research the adoption of a Juvenile Curfew Ordinance, so on Tuesday night Sherwin addressed the council for the third time regarding the legalities surrounding the enforcement of an overnight curfew for juveniles.
Police Chief Sherwin explained “The curfew proposed is from midnight to 6 a.m. with all the exceptions we discussed in the presentation before, and they are in the ordinance.”
Responding Place 2 Council Member Shaun Myers said “I don’t generally like the idea of a curfew. I’ve talked to several people and a couple of police officers. I think a lot of the issues we're having with the break-ins are caused by people from outside of our city coming in and breaking into vehicles, not so much from people from inside of our city.”
Myers said “I think the burden of proof on why they are walking around at a certain time, wither it be from a job or maybe even just because of they’re age. I think that could cause more of an issue then I think we need at the moment. I think if we had bigger issues with graffiti or gangs or something like that, it might be more appropriate to have a curfew. But I just don’t think we’re there yet. And I think this would cause more issues than we need right now.”
Addressing Chief Sherwin, Council Member Robbie Powers stated “We walk a fine line when we’re saying that we can stop someone just because of the way they look. For some demographics that might be inflaming a situation that is already inflamed. So, you know, being a person of color, it just, you know, opens those wounds up. I understand there are good and bad apples, in every race, but maybe, Shaun is right.”
Chief Sherwin said “I recognize councils reluctance to anything that would remotely offend, and I think that’s a big part of public safety right now. To take a step back and look at all sides, even on a ordinance that just deals with juveniles. We’re not insensitive to that. But this is a tool, and that’s what the Government Code is specifically about so that’s why all the exceptions are in there.”
An absolutely incredible conversation about racial demographics, the rights of juveniles and the responsibilities of the parents of Forney's teenagers transpired.
Police Chief Rob Sherwin explained that the Texas Government Code requires that a juvenile curfew ordinance be reaffirmed by the council every three years.
City Manager Tony Carson asked City Attorney Jon Thatcher if the council could approve the curfew ordinance on a “one-year trial basis” to which attorney Thatcher agreed that the council could legally review the ordinance after one year, instead of waiting to review it at the required three year anniversary.
Council Member David Johnson made the official motion to approve the Juvenile Curfew Ordinance with the stipulation that the council review its statistics and usefulness after one year.
Immediately following Johnson’s motion, Council Member Penn stated “Do I have a second?”
When Penn received no reply, she declared “Okay, it fails for lack of a second.”
Watch the bottom video below and witness how City Secretary Dorothy Brooks politically interferes in this council's vote.
First Brooks tries to whisper to Council Member Robbie Powers to second the motion made by Council Member Johnson, and then when Powers refuses, she rolls back in her chair and tries get the attention of City Manager Tony Carson, who absolutely ignores her.
When Penn doesn’t comprehend Dorothy Brooks' intention, city attorney Jon Thatcher openly intervenes and explains that Council Member Penn is allowed to second the motion.
Taking the political nudge from Secretary Brooks, Penn next declared that she would second the motion that she'd just declared to have “failed”, then quickly called for the council to vote.
The motion passed by a vote of 3-1. Council Member's Johnson, Penn and Powers voted their approval of the Juvenile Curfew Ordinance and Councilman Shaun Myers voted against it.
Written by: Denise Bell