KANSAS CITY — Third District Councilman Jermaine Reed responded to Derron Black’s criticism that Reed doesn’t care about the city or the people he represents.
As police led him to jail following his arrest at the Gem Theater after interrupting the mayor’s State of the City speech, Black lashed out, not at the mayor, but his city councilman: Jermaine Reed.
“City Councilman Reed can’t even show up to city appointed meetings,” Black yelled to reporters.
FOX 4 News checked Black’s claim that Reed doesn’t attend city meetings to represent his constituents. According to the city clerk, Reed has missed 17 out of 310 city committee or council meetings since he took office in May of 2011. That’s an attendance rate of nearly 95 percent, and one reason why 3rd District Committeeman Pat Clarke says Black’s outburst was more an expression of frustration.
“Yesterday was a statement,” Clarke said. “Regardless of how anybody feels about what he did, he (Black) made a statement. That statement is a feeling that a whole lot of black men have in our city, as well as our district.”
This is not the first time Reed has been under fire. After voting to displace some of his constituents to make room for a new east patrol police station, there were efforts to recall Reed. Although unsuccessful, opponents claimed Reed doesn’t listen to the citizens he represents. And after Black’s outburst during the State of the City speech, police did provide Reed security for the rest of the day.
FOX 4 News asked Reed if he is concerned for his safety.
“I prefer not to answer that question,” Reed responded. “The reality of it is I’m concerned about everybody’s safety in our city. We continue to have homicides that occur every day.”
Reed calls the criticisms of him a distraction, and says he will continue to stay focused on issues of jobs and infrastructure for his district.
“This year we’re up to 21 homicides to date,” Reed said. “That’s a concern to me. I’m concerned about everybody’s safety, not just my own safety.”
Reed told FOX 4 News that he has met with Black on a number of occasions. He says Black was frustrated by city processes for implementing change. And he calls what happened at the mayor’s state of the city speech “unfortunate.”
Reed also said he has not talked with the mayor since Black’s outburst. He says he will continue to be a staunch ally for the mayor’s agenda as outlined in the State of the City speech.