GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Grand Rapids Police Chief Eric Winstrom says it’s against the law to disrupt a public meeting, something that has happened multiple times at recent city commission meetings.

Mayor Rosalynn Bliss ended the July 12 meeting early due to disruptions. Around that same time, Grand Rapids Police Department officers arrested three protesters outside the chambers.

One of the individuals was arrested for allegedly resisting and obstructing police and the other two were arrested for allegedly assaulting, battering, resisting and obstructing.

Winstrom said police were escorting a person out of the meeting when one of his officers was shoved by a protester.

“One of the people who was with the woman actually physically backed up into the police officer, pushing the police officer against the wall, so that’s what prompted … the arrest,” Winstrom said. “The other two individuals that were with this person interfered and were also arrested.”

Interruptions from protesters could also lead to arrests, Winstrom said. However, none have been made thus far.

“People need to realize it’s illegal in this state to disrupt a public meeting,” he said. “As soon as the mayor says you need to leave, you need to leave.”

Following the shooting death of Patrick Lyoya, the mayor and city commission have taken a more tolerant approach during meetings, wanting the public to feel heard.

“The decision was made we’re going to let people vent, but at some point, in time city business has to be conducted and we need to treat everyone’s rights fairly,” Winstrom said.

When it comes to policing future meetings, Winstrom said officers will continue to follow the mayor’s lead. He said officers will arrest individuals for disrupting if the mayor instructs them to do so.

“You could watch these (meeting) videos over and over and just count numerous times where the law was broken,” Winstrom said.  “If we were asked by that authority to take action previously, we would have because that’s our job.”

Winstrom said it’s a small group of activists that appear to be provoking commissioners and officers at the meetings, similar to what they’ve seen at recent protests.

“They would put themselves in situations where they would force the police to interact and I think that’s what we have here,” he said.