SPOKANE, Wash.— A controversial ordinance had more than 100 people fired up Monday night the Spokane City Council meeting.
Community members were angry about a City Council vote on immigration status in 2014. The crowd also supported an initiative calling for more proof of citizenship. However, as tempers flared the meeting came to an abrupt end.
The Spokane Police Department has an internal policy that limits when they ask someone their immigration status. In fall 2014, Spokane leaders created City law to keep anyone from changing the policy.
Citizens against the policy showed up Monday night to voice their concerns. However, some City leaders said people against the policy disrupted the meeting. City Council President Ben Stuckart said all of the yelling forced him to stop the meeting early. Stuckart claimed there were four different interruptions and the crowd was warned.
"I was frustrated," said Stuckart on Tuesday. "I've never been that frustrated at a City Council meeting."
Stuckart admitted Tuesday that he probably should not have stormed off but he has never been that upset since he joined City Council four years ago.
Comments made before the council said Spokane's immigration policy would send businesses to other states.
"With this being a sanctuary city, as it is right now, I can guarantee ya they're going to bypass Spokane," said one concerned citizen.
The majority in the crowd opposed making a police policy about restricting when you can ask about legal status into a city law.
"If we were to become a sanctuary city, it would increase crime on our streets," added another community member.
The crowd also showed support for a ballot initiative calling for more proof of citizenship in Washington.
Councilman Jon Snyder took over the meeting when Stuckart walked out. Snyder threatened to have people removed from the meeting and eventually a police officer had to get involved.
In the end, some on the council showed their support for the comments made about stricter immigration policies.
"We are a nation of laws, if you're going to come here, you need to come here the right way, the legal way," said Councilman Mike Fagen.
City leaders did voted not to approve that new initiative asking for proof of citizenship or put it on the ballot without any signatures. Supporters will need to get enough signatures by this summer if they want it on the ballot this November.