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Protesters shut down town hall on Johns Hopkins police force for second time in a row

Protesters shut down town hall on Johns Hopkins police force for second time in a row
Protesters shut down town hall on Johns Hopkins police force for second time in a row 02:51

BALTIMORE -- A town hall on a Johns Hopkins police force was shut down by protesters for the second time in a row.

This comes after the meeting last Thursday was disrupted by a group of students, causing the school to move tonight's presentation to virtual, but that didn't stop the protests at an auditorium near the medical school.

Hopkins put a pause on its plan to add a police force a few years ago following nationwide protests that erupted over the death of George Floyd after an officer kneeled on his neck. But the proposal is back up for public comment. 

These town halls are mandated by a Maryland law; they must happen before a police force is formed.

A group of students pushed into the entrance at Turner Auditorium near the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

Chanting "No justice, no peace," they stormed the stage, stopping the presentation altogether.

"Shut it down, shut it down," they chanted.

The group prevented the presentation from playing inside the auditorium, but it continued uninterrupted online where public input was allowed.

"I am frustrated that community questions and reflection were again drowned out," said Erricka Bridgeford, a co-creator of Baltimore Ceasefire.

The university's police force would operate at all Hopkins campuses, including the Homewood campus, which is in Councilwoman Odette Ramos' district.

"To me, the answer isn't more police, especially police that isn't accountable to the public," she said.

It's a sentiment shared by many. And some protesters questioned how these town hall meetings are being held

This wasn't really a town hall --town halls have live input form community members," one said.

But the plan does have some support, including from Ms. Pat, who lives near Johns Hopkins Hospital in East Baltimore.

"There's a whole lot of a part of the city that wishes they'd have their own police force to take care of their community," she said.

After they were moved outside, protestors held their own town hall as the virtual one continued playing out online.

In a statement, Johns Hopkins University said the third town hall is Friday and it will be virtual.

"We continue to encourage members of our community and neighbors throughout Baltimore to participate in the extensive MOU engagement process which includes the public comment period, city council review, and additional listening sessions," the school said.

Ramos said she'll be holding a town hall of her own and will announce details soon.

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