Nearly 12 minutes after its start, Smyrna Mayor Max Bacon shut down Monday’s City Council meeting following another protest led by the mother of a black man who was killed by a Smyrna police officer last March after using a customer’s car to try to elude capture.
Following a prayer by Marcus Wayne James of Cumberland Community Church to begin the 7:30 p.m. meeting, another lengthy prayer was led by an audience member during the Pledge of Allegiance, concluding with “not wanting peace without justice even in Smyrna.”
Then Bacon asked if any candidates running for office would like to come forward to introduce themselves.
An attorney, Chuck Bachman said he is running to become a Cobb County Superior Court judge.
After Bacon asked if any other candidate would like to make a speech, Felicia Thomas, mother of the late Nick Thomas, stepped up to the microphone and refused to step away, saying, “I would like to run for mayor. How many years have you been in office? It’s time for change. We want to vote you out of office. How could you promote an officer? You killed my child. The blood is in your seat, that red seat you’re sitting in. We want Kenneth Owens fired. We have the agenda. You’re not going to tell me to sit down. This is not the plantation.”
Others called out in support of Thomas.
Then repeatedly, Thomas shouted, “Shame on you, Mr. Mayor.”
As ten Smyrna police officers stood along the front of the room, Bacon said, “We have other business to take care of. Move them out. We’re going to call for a recess.”
After the motion and vote, Bacon and the City Council members left while several audience members continued to chant, “Black lives matter.”
The meeting began again about 8:55 p.m.
The last time this group shut down the Smyrna City Council meeting was on Feb. 15, leading to a 45-minute disruption by about 30 people.
They were escorted out by the Smyrna police who barred the doors after the group protested last month’s promotion of Sgt. Kenneth Owens to lieutenant.
On March 24, 2015, Owens shot Thomas, 23, who died at the scene of his workplace at the Goodyear tire store on Cumberland Parkway. Smyrna and Cobb County officers attempted to serve him with an arrest warrant on a probation violation.
Owens was the only officer to fire his gun as Thomas attempted to drive away in a customer’s car, which was the first time he had fired at anyone during his police career, according to Smyrna police.