VIDEO: Jennifer Jones Arrested for Speaking at City Council Meeting in Quartzite, Arizona

Things are screwed up in Quartzite, Arizona: abuse of power, illegal arrests, and city council members who don’t even know basic rules and procedures. But in 21st century America nothing happens in a vacuum, no matter how much small-minded politicians wish it were so.

Forget freedom of speech, forget Open Meeting Laws, forget justice. Just sit down and shut up or you’ll be arrested, even if you’ve done nothing wrong.

Jennifer “Jade” Harris Jones had the floor during the Call to Public and was calmly making statements about improper adoption of new rules and procedures, some of which are in clear violation of Open Meeting Laws. For example, fewer people are allowed in the room, standing is prohibited, photography and videography are only allowed from one small area. Chief of Police Jeff Gilbert even attempted to force publisher Doug Gilford to choose between speaking and video recording the proceedings. (Check out Doug’s website here.)

You thought you had the right to speak as a citizen at a city council meeting, huh? Not in Quartzsite.

Councilman Joe Winslow didn’t particularly like what she had to say so he tried to pass a motion to shut her up, which in and of itself is a violation as motions can’t be passed while a recognized speaker has the floor. The mayor, Ed Foster, objected to this illegal motion and repeatedly defended her right to speak. He was completely ignored. Town attorney Pamela Walsma, stated that the council has a right “statutorily” to pass the motion but did not cite the statute. Amid commotion and shouting police officers pried the microphone from Jones’ hands and arrested her simply for speaking while she had the floor and the right to do so.

In a press release Foster wrote:

Seemingly bent on destroying the meeting, Joe Winslow shouted for her to be removed, even going so far as to take a vote of the council [all of whom went along with this ridiculous ploy.] You cannot challenge the First Amendment simply because you don’t care for the speaker or even for what is being said. As I repeatedly stipulated during the course of this most damaging [to the Town of Quartzsite as well as to Jones] incident, I am the individual elected as Mayor and the proper running of these meetings are my responsibility.

Police chief Jeff Gilbert arrested Mrs Jones over Mayor Ed Foster’s objections.

The Quartzite News has reported that this meeting is soon to be declared illegal along with all the others that have happened since some of the town’s officials began efforts to intentionally limit space in an effort to avoid public scrutiny at the town hall meetings. Also being reported is that attorney Pamela Walsma has left town and is being replaced by Martin Brannan. City council member Jerry Lukkasson requested his city email account be shut down so he wouldn’t have to get any more pesky emails from the public. The city council seems to hate the public. Notice that the agendas specifically state “Not open for public discussion.” How the hell can that be!?

Draft minutes from the meeting are always made public so I’m posting them here:

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.

The behavior of the police officers is insane. If I’m not mistaken these officers could lose their badges for failing to follow a direct order from an executive member of the city government.

So what can we do? First, attend your city council meetings! In fact, learn who your city council members are if you don’t already know. What else? Hound the mayor (the good guy in this mess) to pursue all forms of legal action against the officers and other city council members.

His personal email address is: efoster41@yahoo.com and his work email is efoster@ci.quartzsite.az.us

Show this video to everyone you know, put it on Facebook and Twitter, blog about it. Contact your state representatives, they need to see this video. Email the ACLU, write to your local paper. Make a big deal out of this! We the people are watching and we demand justice! This kind of crap is not ok in my America.

Write to the rest of the Quartzite council and tell them what you think. (I have a few choice words for Joe Winslow.) Their website is here.

Barbara Cowell bcowell@ci.quartzsite.az.us

Bob Kelly bkelley@ci.quartzsite.az.us

Jose Lizarraga jlizarraga@ci.quartzsite.az.us

Joe Winslow jwinslow@ci.quartzsite.az.us

Jerry Lukkasson jlukkasson@ci.quartzsite.az.us

Patricia Anderson panderson@ci.quartzsite.az.us


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23 Comments
  • Jordan
    July 6, 2011

    Holy smokes. That is crazy, I cannot believe something like that would happen!

    • Seth Anderson
      July 7, 2011

      I’m still so angry about it. It really, really pushed one of my buttons and I still feel my blood boiling when I think about it. I emailed the mayor, he wrote me back too!

  • Lori
    July 7, 2011

    I saw this posted on reddit.com and I’m upset about it as well. I live on the east coast and I don’t even know what this is all about, but I know a violation of civil rights when I see it. I’m sending an e-mail to every e-mail address I can find on the city’s website. Thanks for bringing this to attention. Hopefully some fellow redditors will scold them along with me.

    • Seth Anderson
      July 7, 2011

      Thank you for your help, Lori! It’s an ugly situation and I’m going to stay on this story. I want to know what happens with everyone involved.

  • phx citizen
    July 7, 2011

    Douglas Gilford pulled the video down via copyright infringement… is he the producer of the video, and why the hell would he pull it down!

    • Seth Anderson
      July 7, 2011

      That is so crappy he took down the video!! What the hell!?

  • Tia
    July 8, 2011

    Here is a copy of the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=veL0ERDLcQY

  • Douglas Gilford
    July 8, 2011

    I have not removed the original video, exactly as posted June 28.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YPY3BIsVQq8

    Also, please visit my website: http://www.Qtown.US/blog
    to stay current with videos.
    Others may have REUPLOADED the same video,
    at their own risk of disciplinary action by YouTube.

    We all want to spread it.
    You are welcome to link to the video, or embed in any website.
    As a user of YouTube, you probably already know those rules.

    I love justice.
    This is an important event.
    It is fortunate that it was caught on video.

    Yours truly,
    Doug

    • Seth Anderson
      July 8, 2011

      Thank you, Doug. I’ve embedded the new video.

  • Douglas Gilford
    July 8, 2011

    Call The Kids Into The Room

    Kids, don’t be embarrassed or afraid to make a report to a grownup if someone steals your stuff. A thief ought to be reported and punished.

    Sometimes, people will come to you later and say “Wow – why did you turn in Sandy for taking your doll? She got punished! And Mom made all of us stay inside all day!”

    Don’t feel bad. Sandy was the thief! She created whatever problems arose from her act of thievery – not you.

    Now a word for the adults. Same goes. Do not pirate videos. You create problems for others.

  • Skekzyz
    July 8, 2011

    I found a still working vid of this…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G_gM58cci6I&feature=related

  • honestann
    July 8, 2011

    The neo-nazi predators have taken over all levels of government in the USSA. This is what happens when government does not enforce laws against people IN government.

    The only solution is mass hangings of people who work for government and violate the rights of others. Otherwise the predators win by default, and earth shall become a permanent slave planet given the modern technologies and weapons systems they have at their disposal.

    • Paul
      July 16, 2011

      I agree, lets start at the top with the people that are taking away our rights. Oh, OBAMA

  • Skekzyz
    July 8, 2011

    Jennifer Jones’ blog – http://thedesertfreedompress.blogspot.com/

  • Rick Dennison
    July 9, 2011

    The first admendment is toliet paper these days to public servants they think that they were elected to be rulers of said areas If I was going to jail for speaking well then they would be taking me to jail for a reason like punching one of the nazi boot thugs(police) or the little hilter himself that stAarted the whole thing

  • James
    July 11, 2011

    I have written to one of your Councillors about the behavior in that meeting, I am from the UK and am simply appalled at what I saw. I have been to many political meetings in my lifetime, but I have never witnessed such rude contemptuous arrogance as I did from your Councillor across in Quartzite, the treatment of Mrs Jones was simply and absolutely disgusting.

    It was with this in mind that I prepared this email!

    Addressed to Barbara Cowell.

    By chance yesterday I watched a youtube video of a recent council meeting in Quartzite, what I witnessed was quite startling. There was a lady who took the stand to speak, a Mrs Jennifer Jones. Then there was was a Mr Winslow, who I believe is a councillor in that region.

    I have attended many, many political meetings in my own area in the UK and have seen all sorts of things, but never once have I seen someone so rudely treated, let alone a lady. Although that may be considered sexist these days, I still believe that courtesy costs nothing. Each individual has a right to speak and a right to be heard, whether that individual be rambling or whether the dialogue has meaning is irrelevant at this point. There is only one important additon to that and that is each individual equally well, has his or her right of reply.

    However, this was disgusting, firstly Councillors are public representatives and however abhorrant at times that may be, that is the result of the due process of election. This representation is very serious and should involve at the very least reasonable conduct and the conduct of Mr Winslow on this occasion was completely out of order.

    I am not here, to defend the actions of Mrs Jones, as the address should have been made to the chair and not as it appears at times to the gallery, this was improper. However, I have never once come across anyone shout someone down who was speaking, in
    such a rude and abrupt manner as Mr Winslow did. It was simply disgusting.

    The lady concerned had a right to be heard and at the end of whatever time is allowed for the person to speak, then that is the time for the response and that should be made in an appropriate manner. It demeans the very nature of democracy when that principle is not upheld. Indeed whatever then entails becomes ugly and a scene emerges, which is not that different from that of the way street thugs behave.

    Mr Winslow, should be disciplined for his actions, such rudeness should not be tolerated, if there was any cause for the speaker to be written to as regards her actions, then that should also be addressed but addressed appropriately. Once someone stands to speak, then that time should be allotted and indeed it is Mr Winslow who should have been asked to leave the meeting, if he could not tolerate her iterations, not the other way around. I believe also that the chair in allowing her to continue to speak acted wholly appropriately and that is another reason for Mr Winslow to be disciplined. In our country such actions would result in a written disciplinary warning.

    Those elected by the public have a higher duty and really do need to be courteous at all times. As bad things may get, this is subject to the higher calling which public office entails. Yes of course things can and will get heated, but one would hope that civility can still be exercised and it is that which separates us from the animals.

    From my point, I mean no offence from this email and hope I have caused none, however I could not stand by and see anybody treated like this, without addressing the issue.

    The reason being is that the power of today’s world is different and those in politics, or in local authority need to be even more aware of where their actions and attitudes can lead. It is no longer a simple matter of a local meeting where someone gets irate. Now these are things the whole world can witness and there is a real need to be aware of that.

    With that in mind, it serves no purpose to be rude in this manner. Indeed when the outside world looks in, it can only be a source of major embarrassment or yet more worryingly gives those who may not have the best interests of either Country, Government or Council at heart, even more ammuniton to attack those who in most cases are genuinely acting in the best interests of their respective Communities!

    James, Northumberland, UK

    • Seth Anderson
      July 11, 2011

      Thanks, James! I love it. Make sure to send this to them (although their email address may not be working.) There has been some even more bizarre developments this weekend in Quartzite. I’ll post some links to news stories I found later today.

  • Alfred McBride
    July 11, 2011

    As a veteran with our boys fighting wars currently this city counsel makes me sick to see and demands that a force of the people be deployed immediately to arrest the cities police and its city counsel to free an American town from tyranny and oppression. This is an order of the people to the U.S. Military to delploy into Quartzite AZ and free Americans and to arrest treasonist.

  • Alfred McBride
    July 11, 2011

    To be honest, when the surpream law of the land is being violated the people sitting in that room can actually arrest the officers by force legally.

  • John Haines
    July 12, 2011

    Communisum alive and wellin Quartzite.

  • tuishou
    July 13, 2011

    Nice to see such a festering boil of antiamericanism and home grown ignorance as was proven to exist in Quartzite. apparently not only does misery love company, but so do boneheaded demigods. any takers on a bet that these anti-constitution, anti-rights, anti liberty types that did such sterling gummint work as not in the very least ashamed of themselves.

    Do these police deserve to remain employed? There are lots of unemployed in this depression economy who could I’m sure be found to replace them.

  • Marty Tennant
    July 24, 2011

    We have jackboot thugs in office in Georgetown, SC too. They even want to make it a criminal act to criticize them.

    See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4AVLOkjB2Fw

    Former Mayoral candidate Marty Tennant attempts to address the issue of $21 million dollars in “unrestricted net assets”, after it was brought up in the same meeting earlier by City Councilmember Barber. Barber threatens him by saying, “you don’t want me to step from behind this podium”, “you heard what I said”, and “you’re messing with the wrong city council member”. Mayor Scoville is later heard to say, “why didn’t we think about that a long time ago” putting his seal of approval on the threat to Mr. Tennant.

    Also see: http://www.gtowntimes.com/local/Disruptive-conduct-could-become-a-crime-at-meetings

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