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Pocatello City Council gets heated over alleged racism comments

POCATELLO, Idaho (KIFI) - Shouting and hard statements were heard at the Pocatello City Council meeting Thursday evening.

A vote to censure city councilman Roger Bray for his comments made during a July 7th budget hearing is what caused the rift. 

The vote led to a firestorm pitting Roger Bray, Claudia Ortega and Chris Stevens against Rick Cheatum, Josh Mansfield, and Linda Leeuwrik.

"Why don’t we stop right there let's stop the racial comments," Mayor Brian Blad said. "These are not racial. This is ridiculous," Blad continued.   

Roger Bray did not attend Thursday's meeting after testing positive for COVID. He had Chris Stevens read a prepared statement where he tried to explain his remarks but did not offer an apology.  "I had been charged and convicted anThe city council did finally vote to censure Bray, with Ortega and Stevens refusing to vote for the question the way it was written, and instead saying they voted for the proclamation, but not the censure of Bray.d those accusing and condemning me do not care to hear what I have to say. The lack of concern for objectivity is staggering," said Chris Stevens reading Bray's statement. 

At one point in the meeting, Claudia Ortega demanded the resignation of police chief Roger Schei. "That is racism. So since we all agree that racism is bad, it's ignorant, and it's abhorrent. I call for the immediate resignation of the chief of police for his racist comments, because he talked about people who work in the trades in our community, the majority of them being minority day laborers," Ortega said. 

Members of the community were also on hand to add their comments to the increasingly volatile situation.

After disagreeing with the mayor on whether or not he should be able to speak, Ortega walked out of the meeting.

Article Topic Follows: News
Linda Larsen

Linda Larsen

Linda is an anchor and reporter for Local News 8 and KIDK Eyewitness News 3.

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