Lawrence City Commission meeting delayed after ‘Zoom bombing’ with image of sexual abuse, racist message
photo by: City of Lawrence screengrab
The Lawrence City Commission’s virtual meeting was delayed Tuesday after an interruption, or “Zoom bombing,” which included an image of sexual abuse and a racist message.
The commission had been scheduled to read a proclamation for Black History Month as its first order of business on Tuesday. Upon resuming the meeting, Mayor Brad Finkeldei began by apologizing regarding the hijacking of the meeting and condemning the images that were displayed.
“Certainly, the vulgar and disappointing break-in is not something that we can tolerate,” Finkeldei said.
Finkeldei said that the city believed it had locked whoever was responsible for the images out of the meeting, but he said if they were able to break in again, the commission might have to end the meeting. After reading the proclamation for Black History Month, Finkeldei said that given what was seen earlier, “it certainly reminded us that we have a lot of work to do in this world.”
The proclamation stated in part that the city celebrated the many achievements and contributions of African Americans, and that the Black community has been the target of discrimination and violence based on racial identity, which conflicts with the city’s core values as a community.
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the commission has been meeting via the videoconferencing platform Zoom and broadcasting the meetings live on YouTube and on TV. Members of the public can participate in the meeting, with the intention being that residents can provide public comment virtually on agenda items or other topics.