Town Council Passes Resolution Condemning Insurrection At The Capitol On January 6


Tear gas fired outside the US Capitol during the January 6 insurrection. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Councilors Mandi Jo Hanneke (at large) and Pat DeAngelis (District 2) sponsored a resolution condemning the insurrection and violence which took place at the US Capitol Building on January 6. The violence was part of an attempt by supporters of defeated President Donald Trump to disrupt the certification of Joseph Biden and Kamala Harris as President and Vice President 

This resolution was originally penned by Town Manager Paul Bockelman and School Superintendent Mike Morris shortly after the riot at the Capitol. It was then amended by the Governance, Organization and Legislation Committee (GOL), to be presented to the Town Council for ratification at their January 25 meeting. 

In addition to condemning the conduct of those who forced their way into the Capitol and the five resulting deaths, destruction of property, and threats to lawmakers, the resolution cited the unequal way this largely white crowd was treated as opposed to the violent treatment of the peaceful Black Lives Matter protestors in front of the White House this past summer.

In speaking for the sponsors, Hanneke said she once felt that Town government had no place speaking out on national matters, but she has come to believe that it is important for officials to speak out against racism and injustice in all parts of government. She asked why the police chief did not take part in drafting this resolution as he had in the resolution condemning structural racism after the death of George Floyd. In response, Bockelman said that he did not ask Chief Scott Livingstone to participate because he felt the main goal was to respond to the violence and the impact on young people and immigrants in town. He said, in retrospect, he probably should have asked Livingstone.

There was also controversy regarding GOL removing a statement asking the Town to ensure that no Amherst employees took part in the riot. This removal was criticized by Terry Mullen, Birdy Neumann, and Allegra Clarke in the Public Comment portion of the meeting. No definitive answer was given to the removal of that portion of the resolution, but Bockelman stated unequivocally that no Amherst police officer participated in the insurrection. As for the question of whether any Town employees traveled to D.C. that week, he said requesting that information could violate free speech rights. Councilor Andy Steinberg (at large) pointed out that it is the Town Manager’s job to supervise Town employees, not the Council’s.

At the Council meeting on January 25, the  resolution passed unanimously.

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