March 12 2009 12:00 AM

Public comment turns scary at Mondays Council meeting (Click read more to see a video of the disruption)

On the heels of the one-year anniversary of a deadly shooting at a Kirkwood, Mo., City Council meeting, a local man disrupted Monday night’s Lansing City Council meeting shouting profanities and threatening to start a war with police.

Barry Shiffer — who also identified himself as Doug Penchman — stood up in front of the Council during the public comment section of the meeting, blamed the body for a drug raid on his friend’s home, then threatened to retaliate with his AK-47, demanding the release of his “nigger” brothers in jail for medical marijuana related offenses.

As Shiffer’s profanity-laden tirade hit the one-minute mark, he became increasingly aggressive, kicking open the saloon-style doors that separate the audience from the Council dais.

Shiffer made his way toward the dais, by which point some city officials had started to back away.

As Shiffer began arguing with a police officer who was stationed at the meeting, At-Large Councilwoman Carol Wood asked for city television operators to shut off the live video.

The officer — there is one stationed at every Council meeting — tried to calm Shiffer as he radioed for backup. Shiffer said he’d fight the officer and taunted the cop and raised his fists saying that he was "un-medicated."

Amazingly, as Shiffer’s allotted three-minute public comment time elapsed, he seemed to give up, agreeing to leave.

But as officers were escorting Shiffer out of the Council chambers, it was then that he allegedly made good on his promise to fight the police; two officers later required medical attention after a scuffle.

Shiffer is now facing charges of disorderly conduct, assault on a police officer, possession of marijuana and resisting arrest. He was arraigned Tuesday at 54A District Court over a live video feed — red marks were visible on his forehead and he answered questions posed by Judge C.F. Filice in a gruff staccato.

Shiffer was given a $50,000 bond and will appear Feb. 23 for a preliminary hearing. Because Shiffer would be a habitual offender, if convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison for each charge.

“I don’t need no bond,” he told Filice. Shiffer is no stranger to the law or City Hall and maintains an online presence. He calls himself, on his Facebook and MySpace pages, "The White House Police Chief, United States Prison Warden, and Front Man of the New World Order."

Last August, he sent an email to various media outlets offering to surrender his AK-47 to Council and threatening to hijack a Council meeting.

With his history of threatening behavior, security guards at City Hall were apparently on the lookout, but did not see him enter the front door Monday night.

But with the memories of the killings in Kirkwood, protection is a concern. City Attorney Brig Smith said Tuesday that one avenue to be explored would be seeking an injunction preventing Shiffer from attending any meetings.

Last year, in an editorial published shortly after the Kirkwood killings, At-Large Councilwoman Kathie Dunbar expressed her own fear that something similar could happen right in Lansing.

"For all we know, the regulars at Lansing City Council meetings are indeed harmless. And for all we know, theyre not," she wrote.

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