Organizers upset after Wharton backs out of community meeting

Organizers Upset After Wharton Backs Out Of Community Meeting

MEMPHIS, TN - (WMC-TV) – Memphis SCLC President Dwight Montgomery still supports Mayor A C Wharton. But he disagreed with a recent decision.

"We are baffled," said Montgomery.

The mayor was expected to participate in a forum Thursday on police and community relations.

Wharton's office canceled Sunday via Email.

"We respectfully disagree with the decision of the mayor," said Montgomery.

"It has not been a full two weeks since the tragic, fatal shooting of Officer Martoiya Lang," wrote Wharton in the Email.  "Thursday - the day of your meeting - will not be a full week since her funeral services. In my view, the timing of an open forum of this nature is not appropriate."

Mayor Wharton not only backed out.  He asked Director Armstrong not to attend.

"It does not disrespect an officer whose life was taken in the line of duty," said Montgomery.

The SCLC and others sent recommendations to city hall nearly two months ago regarding possible changes to police policies and procedures.  Montgomery said the mayor has yet to respond.

But he did not believe officer Lang should be used as an excuse to avoid questions in an open forum.

"We definitely need to get rid of officers that act inappropriate," said Montgomery.  "Officer Lang doesn't fall into that category," he added.

Mayor Wharton left officer Lang's funeral early Friday to speak with the Vice President about gun control.

Montgomery said some might consider that inappropriate.

Copyright 2012 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.