Friday, November 05, 2010
Did Bethlehem Police Over-React?
On Wednesday night, I walked into what I thought was a Bethlehem Zoning Hearing Board meeting. Idiot that I am, I had my dates mixed up, and walked into what was actually a Public Safety Committee hearing. But I arrived just in time to see two Bethlehem cops escort a man from the podium. According to Morning Call news account penned by Matt Assad, it's the first time this has happened in at least twenty years.
What was this guy doing to warrant an ejection? He was reading the Constitution and citing Black's Law Dictionary. Loudly. Very loudly. Scary loudly.
In fact, after a previous performance in front of City Council, Bethlehem officials asked for a police presence, which also exists at Allentown, Lehigh County and Northampton County meetings.
What disturbs me about this ejection, which I do think was appropriate, is that no member of City Council made the request. A police officer took it upon himself to make a call that really should have come from the Chair.
I caught the actual ejection on video, but Tony Simao caught the entire incident. What do you think? Did this gentleman go too far? Should the police have acted on their own, withot direction from the Chair?