Updated at 2:54 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2019, with more information.
A heated discussion about gun violence in Chattanooga resulted in an activist being asked to leave Tuesday's City Council meeting, which the chairman abruptly adjourned.
At the end of an otherwise calm council meeting, Sharee James, the sister of a 22-year-old shot and killed outside of Coyote Jack's, spoke out against the nightclub, where another man was fatally shot Wednesday.
As council members responded to James' comments, local activist and 2021 District 8 council candidate Marie Mott, who regularly speaks and often butts heads with council members at meetings, shouted from the crowd to share some related concerns.
"Why are you afraid to speak to the public?" Mott yelled at Chairman Erskine Oglesby. She had previously been banned from speaking at the meeting after exceeding the council's limit of comments at consecutive meetings.
"Ma'am, if you want to talk, you feel free to have your three minutes up here," Oglesby responded, gesturing to microphone, despite Mott being explicitly told she could not speak at the meeting.
After about a minute of back and forth, Oglesby directed Chattanooga police officers to remove Mott from the meeting for being out of order.
Mott remained in the crowd, continuing to shout until Oglesby abruptly adjourned the meeting.
"Mott just started an outburst during another young lady's turn to speak," Oglesby said, referencing Mott's pattern of breaking decorum at meetings. "The officers asked her to go but didn't escort her out or anything, but she refused to leave. And at that point, I adjourned the meeting. I have to keep in mind the safety of the public and it escalated to a point I felt the meeting was getting too heated."
After the meeting, Mott said she echoed the concerns of the woman speaking about Coyote Jack's, but wanted to make sure the council addressed other recent gun violence, including the death of 25-year-old activist and educator Clay Mason.
"Clay Mason, who was going to run with me for city council, was killed last week, and not one council member mentioned it," Mott said. "If they care about violence, like they're trying to act like they do, what does it take for them to address Clay and what does it take for them to do anything about either his death or Coyote Jack's?"
Mott believes Oglesby unfairly limits the public forum during the meetings, especially for controversial issues.
"I don't think Oglesby wants to hear anything that isn't about development downtown," Mott said after the meeting.
City council voting meetings are Tuesdays at 6 p.m. in the council chambers at 1000 Lindsay St.
Contact Sarah Grace Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6416. Follow her on Twitter @sarahgtaylor.