Rodney Jones, president of the Manatee County chapter of the NAACP, was forcibly removed from a Bradenton City Council meeting Wednesday after he refused to leave the podium when his time for public comment — which he used to tell council members about a complaint against the Bradenton Police Department — was up.
Jones faces charges of disturbing a public meeting and resisting arrest without violence, police Capt. Brian Thiers confirmed.
During the meeting, Jones requested to address the council, but public comment had already ended. He had arrived late and missed the public comment portion of the meeting.
Mayor Wayne Poston allowed Jones to speak later, near the end of the meeting.
Jones said he wanted to lodge a complaint against Bradenton police because he didn’t feel safe and did not feel safe to have his 15-year-old at his home.
“I feel like my life is in danger,” Jones said.
He told council members, including Poston who is the commissioner of police, Bradenton Police vehicles were parked in front of his home April 22.
Poston confirmed with Jones that he had spoken to Police Chief Melanie Bevan previously about the alleged incident.
Bevan also told the Bradenton Herald she had previously spoken to Jones about the allegations.
When Jones went over the three-minute public comment time limit, he told council he would keep going until he was finished.
“So let me finish this, ‘cause I’m going to finish or you’re going to have to arrest me,” Jones said.
An officer approached the podium and told Jones his time was up, but Jones did not leave and repeatedly told the officer not to touch him. Bevan offered to talk to him outside but Jones refused.
He approached the council members, pointing at them before Bevan stepped in front of him. Bevan and other officers grabbed Jones by the arms and forcibly took him outside of the council chambers.
As he was escorted out, he Jones continued to shout and struggled against officers to stay in the room.
After Jones was taken into the hall, Bevan told council members that in her time as chief, they have “beefed up policy that detail how (the department) handles complaints” and her door remains open for them.
“We don’t take at-large accusations without someone who can come forward and provide any type of detail,” Bevan said.
Bevan went on to say the department takes accusations against officers seriously and will investigate any and all accusations.
Jones, who once ran for a seat on the Manatee County school board and lost, has previously voiced complaints against Bradenton Police Department and has considered a lawsuit against the Bradenton Housing Authority.
The Bradenton Herald has reached out to Jones by phone since he was removed from the meeting but his voice mail inbox was full.