FAIRFIELD, Calif. (KTXL) — The Fairfield Police Department has released body camera video of the arrest of nine people who they say disrupted a city council meeting on Monday.
It’s an effort to show what they were up against after a group became upset about not being able to address the council.
The group, Fairfield Change, was the same community organization that had posed questions about the hiring of a former Vallejo Police officer who was involved in a police shooting several years ago.
Police posted a flyer from the group, indicating members would disrupt the meeting if they weren’t heard.
The video showed an officer trying to reason with group member Mari Bowie after being escorted forcefully from the chambers.
“It didn’t make me look bad,” Bowie refuted. “It made them look bad.”
Bowie said the group spoke up because they wanted to address the council after Police Chief Deanna Cantrell presented the circumstances surrounding the officer’s hiring.
Police say public comments were scheduled for the end of the meeting, but protestors claim it was moved on purpose.
“Pushing public comment to the end of the meeting and then you have them allowing the police chief to make a public comment, even though she is not agendized, so they’re completely breaking rules,” Bowie said.
Police say it was demonstrators who were breaking rules by not allowing for a peaceful assembly.
“I think the worst that could be said about us is that we were yelling at City Council. We were never asked to leave,” said Andrez Rivera Cruz, a Fairfield Change member.
Others who went to jail said de-escalation methods should have been used.
“To arrest nine individuals, nine people from the community at the city council who wanted to speak their minds, I think it’s a bad look,” Rivera Cruz said.
Chief Cantrell sent a message to Fairfield Change defending the Department’s decision to hire Officer Dustin Joseph, saying, “In making their decision that there was no criminal wrongdoing, the DA’s office reviewed all evidence in this case, including the involved officers statements, statements from numerous witnesses, dispatch records, coroner’s findings and all other evidence…”
But Fairfield Change says that didn’t answer questions it has been asking for for several months.
Bowie says she knows people who disagree with their tactics, but insists it was the only way to be heard.
“I’m glad I did it. I think it was worth it. I think it was necessary,” she said.
The people arrested at the Fairfield City Council meeting were released on the promise to appear in court after spending Monday night in jail.
The group says it will continue to seek more clarity on the hiring of that police officer.