City Council Beefs Up Security 

click to enlarge Chris Dorsey, who ran for sheriff last year and is a regular voice during City Council’s public comment periods, is carried out of Richmond City Hall in April.

Ned Oliver

Chris Dorsey, who ran for sheriff last year and is a regular voice during City Council’s public comment periods, is carried out of Richmond City Hall in April.

Seven months after a chaotic City Council meeting from which police carried an armed resident out of City Hall, private security guards and two police agencies are providing security during meetings in council chambers.

Two officers from the Richmond Sheriff's Office joined two police officers in chambers at last week's meeting. Security guards hired by the city also attend meetings.

Sheriff C.T. Woody says he provided the officers at the request of Police Chief Ray Tarasovic.

"Sheriff Woody has provided two deputies along with our two officers at council meetings to help ensure the safety for those attending and as well as our City Council representatives," Deputy Police Chief Eric English says. "Any time we are afforded the opportunity to provide a safer environment for our citizens, in this case for those attending council meetings, we believe is a bonus."

Council President Charles Samuels says he asked Tarasovic to staff the meetings with officers after meeting April 15, when Chris Dorsey, a frequent attendee, was removed from chambers by police after a city employee claimed Dorsey pointed at his handgun.

Dorsey disputes that account, saying he never pointed at his gun, which he carries for protection. He faced no charges in connection with the incident.

Anyone who can legally carry a gun or other weapon is allowed to do so in City Council chambers.

Dorsey has resumed attending meetings without incident, though during a recent hearing he distributed a pamphlet titled "Shitty Council," which featured drawings of all nine members.

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