Memphis council amends permit, parade ordinance - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Memphis council amends permit, parade ordinance

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

Memphis city council unanimously approved an amended ordinance on Tuesday that gives Police Director Toney Armstrong more responsibility in approving permits for public gatherings and parades.

The new rules are in response to the March 30 Ku Klux Klan rally in Downtown Memphis. The Easter weekend event was already approved by the city administration so this new ordinance won't be in effect yet.
Councilman Harold Collins, who proposed this new ordinance, said it's all about protecting the city's assets.

MORE: Memphis approves KKK permit for March 30 rally

The ordinance gives the police director the discretion to charge any event organizers, from outside of Shelby County, for the police services that are required for a public gathering or parade. It also requires those event organizers to put down a deposit or surety bond for 50 percent of the expected law enforcement costs.

The approved parade and permit ordinance also gives Director Armstrong the responsibility to impose limits on the gatherings in the interest of public safety.

"If you come to our city without a Shelby County address and you want to hold a rally as controversial as you are, then the city has to take steps to make sure that the city's assets and the citizens are protected because of your presence," Councilman Collins said.

Mr. Collins was pushing for this amended ordinance to cover the March 30 Klan rally, but the administration approved that event before the city council approved the ordinance.

"As a taxpayer I'm outraged because I don't believe we're going to get any money from (the Klan) for coming down here," Councilman Collins said. "Heaven forbid, you know, something happens then that means we've got to dispense ambulances, fire trucks, police apparatuses who knows. So it's about protecting the city's assets."

The KKK will hold their demonstration downtown between 1:30-4 p.m., in front of Shelby County General Sessions Court at 140 Adams Ave.

City attorney Herman Morris warned council members there could be legal challenges to the new ordinance. Council tried to craft it in a way that can withstand a challenge.
The ordinance only applies to groups with organizers who live outside of Shelby County.

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