The town of Quartzsite, AZ, population 3,466, is in disarray after a
video showing police hauling away a citizen for speaking at the town
meeting podium went viral. The woman was saying that the town council
had been violating open meeting laws.
It was the second citizen arrested at a Quartzsite town meeting in two weeks.
I asked if he wanted publicity about this and he said yes. -gretchen
May 5, 20011 marks the 6th anniversary of
the arrest of the Valdosta 15.
It was the day that 15 of Valdosta’s finest citizens were arrested
in City Council, charged with “Disrupting a Public Meeting,” and taken to
the Lowndes County Jail. We were denied bail, and a telephone call. And,
in some instances, medicine.
The city spent thousands of dollars on our arrests and appeals. In the
end, the Georgia Supreme Court ruled
Happy Birthday, Mayor Fretti, and thank you for posting publicly.
However, I wish you would stop trying to pass Mayor and Council’s
portion of responsibility for the biomass incinerator to the Industrial
Authority. I delivered a letter to Mayor and Council Thursday night
outlining 10 reasons your Utilities Director can legitimately give when he
(hopefully) follows Mayor and Council’s recommendation to refuse to sell
gray water to the proposed biomass incinerator. I and many other citizens
are tired of the run-around and the shifting of responsibility for this
“biomess” from one public official or group to another.
A councilmember told me that Council would never vote
Justia.com Dockets & Filings,
Catherine Leigh Touchton filed a federal civil rights lawsuit
30 May 2007 against John Fretti and the City of Valdosta
Georgia Middle District Court,
On 17 April 2009:
Court Opinion or Order ORDER directing judgment for defendants on federal
law claims. State law claims are dismissed without prejudice. Ordered
by Judge Hugh Lawson on 4/17/2009.
A dozen similar lawsuits
were filed the same day by
All appear to have had the same result.
Access to related documents is available by
registering with PACER.
They don’t charge until a user runs up a minimum amount of usage.
The case originally surfaced after 15 Valdosta citizens were arrested
and charged with violating statute 16-11-34 (a), which provides “a
person who recklessly or knowingly commits any act which may reasonably be
expected to prevent or disrupt a lawful meeting, gathering or procession
is guilty of a misdemeanor.” Charges came after the group allegedly
disrupted a Valdosta city council meeting in May 2005. Calle Fielden
and Leigh Touchton, two of those arrested, appealed to the courts on
the grounds that the statute under which the citizens were charged was
unconstitutionally vague and broad.
On April 21, 2005, Rev. Floyd Rose addressed the council
Someone posting as
Mayor John Fretti of Valdosta responded in a comment to
Mayor Fretti, please point us to where on the web is the
video you mention. -jsq
Update 12:13 AM 23 April 2011: Mayor Fretti confirms (through three different channels) that this post was by him:
THat was my post. an attempt to reach out and help explain a few things. the video, as was al evidence in the case was exchanged durig the discovery part of the motion. the video should be with that.
I have asked him whether an open records request would produce the video.
Back to the original post. -jsq
With all due respect to Leigh’s version of the arrest – and it is all
on video, it happened in the end by way of self – executing mode. After
repeated requests for the group to relinquish the podium and rose stating
each time that they will not and we “must do what we have to do”. the
Mayor asked if there was any objection from Council or city manager or
attorney if WE allow Chief Frank Simons to approach the crowd and do
what he sees necessary to allow the meeting to continue efficiently and
effectively. There was some discussion and then John Fason (Cmdr.) asked
if anyone wants to go to jail – to follow him. and they all did – no
cuffs, no restraints. Peacefully. That’s it. and all on video for all
to see. With respect to the charges filed, they were old STATE charges and
were ruled out as overbroad and (something else). That was fine. There was
an appeal by the solicitor General and again the old STATE laws were ruled
overbroad and (something else). as they should have been. We have our own
local laws and ordinances now that have been tested strong in court.