(WXYZ) - In 1989, a protester stood in front of a tank in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square demonstrating against the death of hundreds of protesters and civilians.
On Tuesday, Sterling Heights City Councilman Paul Smith stood in front of a construction vehicle while calling 911.
“It is just like Tiananmen square,” said Smith. “You stand in front of the tank for freedom. “
For Councilman Smith, it was freedom from having an unlicensed construction vehicle drive repeatedly through his neighborhood.
In a 911 recording made when he called for help, you can hear Smith yelling that he is a city councilman. He says he needs police to respond to an unlicensed construction vehicle in his neighborhood. Twice, he delivers a message and it then disconnects.
The dispatcher then returns the call and asks him to stop hanging up.
He tells her he is standing in front of the construction vehicle blocking it, so there is proof it is using his road.
She voices concerns about whether that is a safe thing to do.
Fellow Sterling Heights City Councilmembers criticized Smith for abusing his power as an elected official, and wasting emergency resources on a non-emergency.
“It is all politics. I have the right to call police for help when I see the law being violated. I was fighting for my neighborhood,” said Smith.
Police responded to the neighborhood dispute, but say no tickets will be issued. The police chief says it wasn’t what he would consider a legitimate emergency.
The construction site’s manager says Mr. Smith has voiced a dislike of his project and his worker did nothing wrong when driving on Charwood.
The project puts a neighborhood in an area next to Mr. Smith’s subdivision where there used to be green space.
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