District Deputy Police Chief Robert W. Klotz refused yesterday to lift a police ban on tractorcades by protesting members of the American Agriculture Movement, rejecting a proposal for a demonstration at the Federal Reserve today.
The move followed a meeting yesterday between Klotz and Georgia farmer Tom Kersey at a mobile police command center on the Mall. Klotz said Kersey "did not meet the criteria set by (Police Chief Burtell Jefferson) last week. He's a leader, but he's only one individual. I sent him away to get the others in here with him."
Police banned the tractor parades last Friday night after a demonstration at the White House, which included about 200 tractors, snarled evening rush hour traffic.
Jefferson said authorities would allow no more demonstrations until "reasonable leadership" is found in the farmers' movement.
"Tommy coming in by himself is not acceptable," Klotz said "You always hear about the independence of the farmers -- they say they make their own decisions. But when you get 225 people to shut off their tractors and leave them, that's an indication of control."
Kersey said later he was not involved in Friday's incident, which resulted in five arrests. "But now (Klotz) doesn't trust me. He wants us to come and promise him it won't happen again. We can't promise him anything."
Klotz said he expects to meet with Kersey and "two or three other leaders" this morning.