Updated Oct. 16 at 1 p.m.
An earlier version of this article states Diana Vo provided her name at a public meeting; we’ve updated the article to reflect her name was found in public records.
Before reading and voting on resolutions and ordinances, each Gulfport City Council meeting opens with a public comments section. This is a time for members of the community to openly share thoughts and ideas with the council, and others in attendance.
Tensions rose during the public comments section of the meeting, as Diana Vo and her husband Kevin Chapman (A previous version had Mr. Chapman’s first name incorrect) took the stand to discuss an issue they had between a business owner and the police.
According to Vo, a Gulfport business owner came to her house and threatened her and her business. When Vo called the police, she claimed they were unprofessional. The police told her the business owner had every right to be there. Along with this, Vo claims that body camera footage demonstrates the officer’s unprofessionalism, so she met with Councilmember Ian O’Hara (Ward IV) to discuss this. Vo says O’Hara took the side of the police, and became irate when she asked to record him saying what he said.
That’s not all that happened at the Oct. 3 Gulfport City Council meeting. Read approved purchases, senior center fundraising, and approved ordinances.
As her husband took the stand, he reiterated the words that Vo had said. He also spoke about his unsuccessful attempts at getting support from City Manager Jim O’Reilly.
He ended his time by saying, “And to [Police] Chief Vincent, I will see you when you retire and you’re a private citizen, so I can tell you to your face what I think of your wife, and see how it feels to have someone say that about your wife in public, to random people in the community.” They walked out, as he saluted Police Chief Rob Vincent.
The Gabber Newspaper last month tried to reach out to follow up on this story, but at that time Vo would not consent to the use of her name and would not provide the name of the business in question. Since she gave her name in public records, The Gabber Newspaper used her name here. The Gabber Newspaper reviewed the body cam footage, and since ascertained the business is Reschar’s Automotive Repair.
Despite this, the meeting pressed on with a public comment from Diane Daniel, a business owner in Indian Rocks Beach.
Daniel spoke about her nonprofit organization, Vacation Donations, which operates with the purpose of reducing waste generated by vacationers in the area. They do this by allowing tourists to donate items such as beach equipment or food, so that the surplus can be used in the future by others.
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