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WATCH: City-County Council Member walks out of meeting

Posted at 8:52 AM, Sep 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-15 08:54:53-04

INDIANAPOLIS -- With many Franklin Township residents angry over the decision to close a fire station, they attended Wednesday night's City-County Council meeting hoping to voice their concerns.

But the public wasn't allowed to make comments, leading to one member walking out of the meeting.

The incident began when Indianapolis Fire Chief Ernest Malone was proposing the 2017 budget.

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Committee Chair Leroy Robinson would not allow the topic of the fire station discussed, saying it wasn't on the agenda.

"And who makes that call, Mr Chairman?" Franklin Township representative Aaron Freeman said. "The chairman of the committee, really? This is the first time in six years I've ever heard of this."

Freeman requested that Robinson explain himself to the two cameras in the room.

"I want you to tell these cameras that you are unwilling to let the fire chief talk about closing a fire station in Franklin Township," Freeman said. "I want you to do that on camera."

The frustrated Franklin Township residents applauded Freeman's request, but Robinson refused.

"Unfortunately Councilor Freeman, this is not your committee and you can't tell me what to do," he said. 

One of the people attending the meeting yelled at Robinson, "But your voters can!"

At that point, the meeting focused back on the 2017 budget, so Freeman packed his things and walked out.

"Why be here?" Freeman said after he left the meeting. "I mean, I can't represent my constituents if I can't ask questions and if you are going to put me in a box and not let me ask questions, why be here?"

After the meeting, Robinson said the public was led to believe they would be able to discuss the fire station closing Wednesday evening, when it was never the case.

The fire chief said he came prepared to address concerns from the Franklin Township residents. But Robinson said that discussion will come at another time.