Highlights from last night’s Arcata City Council meeting webcast.

The Arcata City Council meeting was brought to an abrupt and early end last night when a group of activists took over the council chambers to demand justice for Josiah Lawson — an HSU student who was fatally stabbed at an off-campus party in 2017.

During the public comment period a group of outraged speakers accused the council of not doing enough to help resolve the Lawson case, for which no one has been prosecuted.

“Even when we have a room full of concerned community members who want to make change, you all don’t have our backs,” local activist Kelsey Reedy said. “People’s lives are in danger. People are dying here. And that can’t be the first thing on the agenda? Or even on the agenda at all?”

Several speakers said that there was evidence linking Kyle Zoellner to Lawson’s death and that Zoellner should have been prosecuted for the murder. After hearing the case last year, the grand jury determined there was not sufficient evidence to indict anyone for Lawson’s death.

Several speakers also accused Arcata Mayor Michael Winkler of racism, referring to a letter written by Winkler in which he likened the atmosphere at a meeting about the McKinley Statue removal to that of a “lynch mob.”

“As a person of color, as a woman, as a Puerto Rican, black, Mexican, student of color, working-class, I do not feel comfortable,” speaker Rosemary Grady said. “I do not feel safe in this community, especially as Michael Winkler sits in the mayor seat.”

After about 20 minutes of comments, Mayor Winkler called for a five minute break, after which the council did not reconvene and the meeting came to an end.

This is not the first time the council ended a meeting early due to disruption by the “Justice for Josiah” activists and several of the speakers indicated that they will continue to show up until they feel the council has done all it can.

The Outpost has edited together portions of the Justice for Josiah activists’ comments which you can view in the clip at the top of this post. For the complete section of protesters remarks leading up to the meeting’s end tune in below.