The hall of Evansville's democracy turned to a shouting match Monday night. Now, the Fraternal Order of Police and well as residents are now chiming in about the heating meeting.
While the forum Monday night allowed people to vent their uninterrupted frustrations with the Evansville Police Department, Police Chief Billy Bolin was not given that opportunity. Chief Bolin was frequently interrupted by City Council President Connie Robinson. It led to some heated exchanges between the two when Chief Bolin began discussing some of the training officers have to go through prior to being sworn-in.
"I'm trying to make a point and you cut me off," Chief Bolin said.
"Yea, because I'm in control," Councilwoman Robinson said. "Just like the police is in control."
When Councilman Jonathan Weaver urged Robinson to let Chief Bolin speak, Robinson admonished him. A few seconds afterward, Mike Ward, an Evansville Police officer, began to voice his displeasures from the gallery, urging Robinson to let Chief Bolin speak.
"I'm the head of this courtroom, not you," Robinson told Ward. "Come and harass me when I leave here."
After the exchange, City Council Attorney Scott Danks told everyone in the chambers that Councilwoman Robinson is in control of how the meeting is handled.
But many on the Evansville Police Department expressed their frustrations on how the forum was handled, calling it one-sided.
The Fraternal Order of Police also had some stern words for Council President Robinson.
Larry Nelson, President of the FOP, released the following statement.
"All the years I've been to City Council, I've never seen any president act the way Connie Robinson did. If there was any racism in the room, it came from [Robinson.] She didn't give a fair shake to the other side and she didn't let them speak on the behalf of the other side of the taxpayers. We're looking into the protocols of having Robinson removed as president of the City Council."
Robison hasn't responded to our thorough and repeated requests for comment so we went to a popular stop in the 4th Ward to see what Robinson's constituents had to say.
On the third floor of the Civic Center, some could say civilities were set aside Monday night. But at the corner of Washington and Kentucky, the welcoming was as warm as the chicken Sherry Walker sells.
"Come on over here, we're talking," Walker said. "Honestly, what do you think?"
'What do you think?' You could say it's a seemingly simple question that lately has turned complicated and controversial.
"Just seeing it get to that level and the way it seems like we're divided," Walker said. "It's sad."
It shouldn't be that way, Walker says, but a remedy could be a closer examination of ourselves and the people around us, no matter if you work behind a badge or behind the counter.
"Take me for instance, what I have on today, you would never know that I'm a realtor but some days I dress down because I'm in here working hard," Walker said as she referenced her restaurant 'Chik N' Stix. "I'm cooking. You may not see that side of me."
The conversation at the Civic Center Monday night turned heated but the conversation on this day -- on a street corner -- proved warm and honest.
"It's not just one race; this is Evansville," Walker said. "It's our city. We have to love it just like home. It's a house and we all live in one house as a family. We may argue. We may bicker sometimes but at the end of the day, this is our home."