Amarillo Spends $13,000 Securing Safety At David Grisham / Terry Jones Rally
Whether you agree with Grisham/Jones or think they are completely out of bounds, it is the city and tax payers who paid for this. Was there a true purpose to this rally or more of a publicity stunt? We ask the readers to decide.
Ensuring public safety at a rally featuring a controversial Quran-burning pastor: $12,700.
Experiencing a largely incident-free event: Priceless.
That's Amarillo City Manager Jarrett Atkinson's view.
"All the groups that came out handled themselves very well, I think," Atkinson said, referring to both supporters and those who gathered at Sam Houston Park on Sunday to protest speeches by the Rev. Terry Jones, the lightning rod pastor from Florida, and local street preacher and mayoral candidate David Grisham.
"By the end of the day, we truly saw the ability for folks, on whatever side of a particular issue, to peacefully assemble and voice their thoughts and opinions on the matter."
Jones' March mock trial, in which he sentenced a Quran to burning, sparked deadly riots across the globe.
He traveled to Amarillo to preach against homosexuality, abortion and Islamic extremism at the invitation of Grisham, leader of Repent Amarillo.
Like Jones, Grisham is no stranger to controversy. His thwarted attempt to burn a Quran on last year's anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks drew more than 200 protesters to Sam Houston.
Given the sparks generated by the pastors, the city had to prepare, Atkinson said.
"You can't ever really gauge that," he said. "I would liken this to many other responses or potential responses that we do.
"You could compare it to how we staff for a potential weather event or a red-flag day for (wild) fires where we might pre-stage and pre-deploy assets, hoping that we don't have to use them."
Read more at amarillo.com