Raucous school board meeting cost RPD $14K

Posted August 9, 2010 5:12 p.m. EDT

— The Raleigh Police Department invested about $14,000 in manpower July 20 to restore and maintain order at a raucous meeting of the Wake County Board of Education, a police spokesman said Monday.

Nineteen people, including the head of North Carolina's NAACP chapter, were arrested inside and outside in the ongoing clash between the board's majority, which is moving toward a neighborhood-based system of student assignment, and those who are opposed to that change.

The Rev. William Barber, who was banned from the gathering after a trespassing arrest at a board meeting in June, was again taken into custody before the meeting began when he made it clear he intended to go inside.

Sixteen other people were arrested after screaming and unrest erupted during a public comment period of the meeting.

The protesters held hands, locked arms and chanted against resegregation, refusing to leave the podium. More than a dozen officers intervened and took the protesters into custody.

The costs, Police Chief Harry Dolan said in a statement, "represent costs associated with the RPD personnel who worked the event in an extra-duty capacity and do not include personnel engaged in various aspects of the event’s security as part of their regular duty."

Dolan added, "The July 20 additional costs will be funded through the department’s limited special events management budget. It is important to note that if significant additional public safety costs continue to be required for school board meetings, additional funding sources will need to be identified.”