DETROIT (WWJ) – Detroit police tried, and failed, on Tuesday to throw a disgruntled citizen out of an emotionally charged City Council meeting.

Council members heard dozens of people speak out against two controversial issues that were before council for a vote.

Former Detroit School Board member Marie Thornton laid down on the floor of council chambers, successfully stopping police from removing her from them room.

Thornton wouldn’t stop talking out of turn during public comment, prompting a shouting match.

“Y’all are violating the Open Meeting Act for even putting her out! You can’t put nobody out of no meeting! … You don’t have to get out,” argued one man — as Detroit City Council President Charles Pugh interrupted, “Marie Thornton, I’m going to ask you to leave.”

After nearly five minutes Thornton got up off the floor and sat in a chair.

Detroit City Council later voted in 5-4 favor of  business man John Hantz’s plans to plant hardwood trees on 140 acres near Van Dyke and Jefferson Ave.

Dozens of smaller urban farmers and residents of the area urged Council to vote no because Hantz is only paying $500,000 for the land.

Businesswoman Stephanie Watt said wasn’t given the same opportunity to buy up city property.

“And I think it’s unfair for Hantz farm to have such a hold on such a large area when I’ve been fighting to buy other parcels and lots over there for the last four years, and have been unsuccessful,” she said.

President Pro Tem Gary Brown said, however, it’s a good deal for the city. “Cleaning up the blight, paying taxes on the property — 22,000 parcels of property that currently no one is paying taxes on. (Hantz is) demolishing homes, paying a half-million-dollars for the property,: Brown said.

Also on Tuesday, council members voted to approve the Miller Canfield contract, which was required in a consent agreement with the state. (More on this here).

Tensions are high in the city as State Treasurer Andy Dillon conducts a 30-day review of Detroit’s financing, weighing the need for an emergency financial manager. Detroit’s budget deficit exceeds $200 million and Dillon says the city’s finances are eroding quicker than expected.

On Monday Detroit’s Financial Advisory Board said it seriously doubts that the city will be able to get through its cash crisis.


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