Emotions run high at Ocean Springs Board of Alderman meeting

Emotions run high at Ocean Springs Board of Alderman meeting

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - Tuesday evening, some Ocean Springs residents gave passionate pleas to the mayor and board of alderman to not only take down the state flag from city hall, but to also find out who's responsible for those racially charged flyers that were distributed around the city last week.

At the meeting, the tone during the public comments ranged from anger to frustration to fear.

"There were some things in that flyer that really disturbed me," said Ocean Springs resident Alonzo Claiborne.

As the underlying theme of the state flag flying over city hall continues, some were outraged about the flyers, others reacted with grave concern.

"I used to believe this city was a place I was safe in, and now when I walk downtown or even in my neighborhood I feel wary and unsafe," said Ocean Springs resident Maureen Fayard.

"We chose to move here for a reason," said Marco Donovan. "Shortly thereafter, all the sudden some things changed, and we're not happy about that. It scares us. We came here feeling safe, and now we don't."

After the meeting, Ocean Springs resident Noelle Nolan pleaded with Police Chief Mark Dunston for answers.

"I am scared," Nolan said to Dunston. "If I thought I could sell my house and make the money back and not lose money I would do it, because I don't want to live in a place that hates me."

Also after the meeting, Ocean Springs Mayor Shea Dobson again addressed the flyers, and what he calls the extreme rhetoric from both sides of the state flag issue.

"The flyers were disgusting," Dobson said. "Anyone who would come into our city and try to incite this type of hate is a fool, and I don't want any part of them in our city. It's time for the moderates to take back this narrative. It's time for the moderates to say we've heard from extremism, we've heard from extremists and we can support the state and honor the state without being racist. We need moderates to take control of the situation and let the extremists that we've heard stay home."

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