LA City Council Meeting Turns Chaotic When Audience Member Charges Toward Council President

A city council meeting in Los Angeles, California, descended into chaos Tuesday after the council voted to prohibit homeless encampments within 500 feet of schools and daycare centers.

The council, according to KABC-TV, voted 11-3 to broaden existing regulations that made sitting, sleeping or camping at daycare centers and schools specified by the council unlawful that day.

In response to the vote, a public speaker at the meeting climbed over a bench and hurried towards Democratic City Council President Nury Martinez, only to be apprehended by police at the venue, the Los Angeles Times reported.

WARNING: The following video contains vulgar language that some viewers may find offensive.

Another activist tried to storm the council floor, only to be tackled by police who were being yelled at by angry protesters.

According to the Times, Martinez swiftly decided to adjourn the meeting as multiple protesters shouted, “Abolish 41.18!”

The Los Angeles ordinance that makes sitting, lying, sleeping and storing personal property in public areas such as libraries, freeway overpasses and other locations unlawful is SEC. 41.18.

At around 11 a.m., police declared the council demonstrations unlawful, resulting in many homeless-rights activists leaving the council chamber.

According to reporting from Spectrum News 1, there were splatters of blood and counterfeit $100 bills lying near the council’s chamber Tuesday afternoon.

According to the news station and the Times, two individuals were arrested, and three police officers were injured during the ordeal.

“We cannot accept that as a regular way to conduct ourselves,” Martinez said of the altercation, according to Spectrum News 1. “I think for those of us who have been with us a number of years, I’ve never witnessed anything like this.”

A week ago, a similar meeting on the same issue was disrupted by protesters, according to the outlet.

“Jumping over a barrier and putting other peoples’ lives at risk, that cannot be the norm around here,” Martinez said.

“We cannot legislate in fear. I certainly will not do that. But we cannot tolerate this kind of behavior and continue to disregard decorum here in our council chambers and our safety,” she added.

“I’ve never seen anything like this — ever,” Councilman Joe Buscaino said, according to the Times.

Los Angeles is one among many California cities dealing with a rise in homelessness, which has manifested itself through large camps set up by homeless people along sidewalks — to the ire of the public, KABC-TV reported.

Proponents of the 500-foot ban believe that the homeless encampments threaten school children’s health and safety because some of the people in the encampments suffer from drug addiction and mental health issues.

Opponents, however, contend that the ban would criminalize homelessness.

“We don’t want to move people block by block,” Lorenzo Defelitta, an opponent of the ban, told KNBC. “We want to get people off the streets into permanent housing.”

Those dissenting against the policy believe that the regulations do not address the issues that cause homelessness in the first place.

“It is actually harmful,” said Mike Bonin, one of the three council members who voted against the rule, according to Spectrum News 1.

“This is going to disconnect people from services. This is going to channel our time and money and energy into moving people around, instead of moving people inside.”

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.