Police asked to assist during Franklin council meeting


by Nick Ochsner, 13News Now


Posted on March 11, 2014 at 6:05 PM

FRANKLIN -- A tense debate at Monday night's city council meeting in Franklin led Mayor Raystine Johnson to ask police officers for help.

Council members were considering a proposal to accept a community development block grant when the debate turned heated.

Of the six council members at the meeting, Councilman Greg McLemore was the only one to oppose the grant.

McLemore peppered both city staff and his colleagues on the City Council with questions and reasons why they should vote against the proposal, several times interrupting the mayor and Councilwoman Mona Murphy.

Video from the council meeting shows exactly how the argument played out.

At one point, the mayor gaveled McLemore down and asked him to stop talking. About a minute later, Murphy shouted McLemore down after he interrupted her. It was at that point when Johnson asked for the assistant police chief and other officers to come to the front of the room.

On Tuesday, McLemore said he thought asking police to come stand behind him was uncalled for.

"It's a sad state of our city and our nation when an elected official has to be threatened with police action for a simple debate or disagreement," McLemore said. "I felt as though i was just doing my job. I wasn't belligerent, I wasn't loud and rowdy."

Multiple calls to Johnson went unreturned on Tuesday. An employee at her business said she was out of town and could not be reached.

McLemore said Monday night's incident will not keep him from making his case at future meetings.

"We should be able to passionately present our positions and if that happens in a meeting being conducted by Raystine Johnson then you stand the threat of being removed by the police," McLemore said.