Petal mayor calls for Board discussion on targeted protest ordinance

Petal mayor calls for Board discussion on targeted protest ordinance

PETAL, Miss. (WDAM) - Before the Petal Board of Alderman meeting Tuesday evening, the Board voted against placing ordinances proposed by Mayor Hal Marx for discussion on the agenda.

Marx has faced criticism and protests after he made social media comments on the death of George Floyd, including protests on the public street outside his home.

Ward 3 Alderman Clint Moore said the ordinances would limit when and where people can and can’t hold certain types of protests.

“Basically, targeted picketing is where you go into a residential setting and picket in or at one individual instance directed at a certain person," Moore said. "These are not uncommon. In many big cities and communities, you have ordinances like this.”

After the vote, Marx told the Board all he wanted was to be able to discuss the ordinance during the meeting.

“You don’t even have the decency to discuss an ordinance that could possibly help my family have less stress, the people in my neighborhood have less stress, quicker rather than later," Marx said before the meeting. "All we want to do is discuss them. You don’t have to vote on them or pass them tonight.”

His wife, Mindy Marx, also addressed the Board during the meeting.

“I’m not talking about people walking up and down the street," Mindy Marx said during the meeting. "I’m talking about people harassing me. It’s not even about him. It’s I have a right to feel safe in my dead end street neighborhood. I promise you, when this is all over, guess what, the Marxes aren’t going anywhere. We’re staying in Petal.”

Moore is one of the aldermen who voted against the order being on the agenda. He said he feels the Board should research and have more time to look into the details of the ordinance before making a decision.

“We needed more time to think through, look at the legal precedent behind and see what the best course of action is to keep these protests peaceful and available for people," Moore said.

Moore said there were three total ordinances Marx wanted on the agenda.

One would prohibit targeted picking, another would not allow BBQ and propane grills on a public street and a third requiring a permit for parades, marches and other events that take up public traffic ways.

Moore said he feels these ordinances will be revisited in the future.

Copyright 2020 WDAM. All rights reserved.