So you thought you had the right to free speech, huh? Not in Quartzsite, Arizona you don’t. Citizen Jennifer Jones, attempting to air the City Council’s dirty laundry, got arrested for speaking at a public meeting in Quartzsite, Arizona. Police arrested her for speaking at the order of the City Council, specifically Councilman Joe Winslow, even after the Mayor defended her right to speak. Police chief Jeff Gilbert arrested Mrs Jones over Mayor Ed Foster’s objections.
Mrs Jones was exercising her right as a citizen to speak at a City Council meeting, and she had the floor. Councilman Winslow shut her down by passing a motion to have her shut down, which in and of itself is a violation as motions can’t be passed while a recognized speaker has the floor.
Quartzsite, AZ – The Mayor is challenged under a recall election beginning next month. Accusations have been made. The city council is persecuting the Mayor for giving the people a voice. The Chief of Police is also involved in the scandal.
Jennifer Jones is given the floor at a city council meeting open to the public. While she is speaking the council realizes she’s about to air their dirty laundry and quickly beckons their henchman to cart her off.
The Mayor steps in and says Jones has been recognized to speak and has not violated the council’s rules, but the council ignores him and has the woman removed even as the Mayor continues to contest. The police officers ignore the Mayor of the city and remove the woman. It’s obvious who those cops work for, and it’s not the people.
Watch Mrs Jones calmly and with authority attempt to call the City Council out on their dirty laundry, and get arrested for it:
Mrs Jennifer Jones, resident thanks Council Member Anderson for reading the rules that the Town has in place on the agendas for public comment. Mrs Jones continues to speak about those rules. Council Member Winslow calls for “points of order”. Mrs, Jones continues. Council Member Winslow motioned that this (inaudible) be removed for the duration of the meeting. No audible second. Council Member Winslow calls for the vote. Vote is inaudible. Mayor Foster states that this lady has the floor, she has been recognized and has the floor. Council Member Winslow states the Council has passed the motioned Council Member Winslow advises Mrs Jones to leave or be escorted out. Confusion and chaos erupts. Shouting and hollering regarding the motion that was made by Council Member Winslow. Town Attorney Walsma states that there was a motion, a second and there was a vote, Mayor Foster states motions can’t be made during a Call to the Public; it is not on the agenda. Town Attorney Walsma states that the Council does have that right statutorily, Shouting and hollering continue. Significant disruption erupts.
This is still America and arresting citizens for speaking at a City Council meeting violates the spirit of the Open Meeting laws, in addition to being a chilling and inappropriate abuse of power. Is this what democracy looks like?