A mayor who spoke out about her residents and stopped them from criticizing her at a city council meeting is now being sued by an individual rights group for allegedly violating the First Amendment.
The Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression announced a lawsuit against Eastpointe Mayor Monique Owens for her alleged actions during a city council meeting on September 6. The lawsuit was filed on November 9.
“This is a case about Monique Owens, the mayor of Eastpointe, Michigan, abusing her office and her role as Eastpointe City Council President to silence her critics,” FIRE said in the legal filing.
FIRE is representing four Eastpointe citizens: Mary Hall-Rayford, Karen Beltz, Cindy Federle, and Karen Mouradjian, in the lawsuit against Owens and the City of Eastpointe.
PROFESSOR RESOLVES LAWSUIT WITH SCHOOL CALLED ‘EPICENTER OF CENSORSHIP IN TEXAS’
At the September city council meeting, the forum was opened for public comment and several residents used their time to comment on an ongoing dispute between Owens and Councilman Harvey Curley.
The dispute involved Owens claiming that Curley “assaulted” her during an event in June. She has denied the claim.
“Just 19 seconds into the public comments, Eastpointe Mayor Monique Owens interrupted the first speaker,” FIRE said in a statement, announcing the lawsuit.
A video of the city council meeting appears to show Owens speaking over the residents, interrupting them and threatening to end the meeting early if they continue to comment on the dispute.
“Some things need to be said, and they need to be said in person,” one resident began with his comments. “I’m here to support Councilman Curley.”
“You’re not going to sit here and assault me, lady I’ve never met,” the mayor chimed in, the video appears to show.
“Don’t say my name because I don’t know what book you’re reading [from] And I don’t care,” he added.
“Okay, you know what, I’m going to stop you right there,” Owens seems to be saying, “or we’re going to stop the council meeting.”
POMPEO REJECTS FAR-LEFT PROTESTERS WHO INTERRUPTED SPEECH: ‘THIS COULD ONLY HAPPEN IN THE UNITED STATES’
“I am not going to let you talk about something that has to do with a police officer. [investigation],” she added.
Members of the public also rejected the mayor.
“This is ridiculous,” said another resident, the video appears to show. “There is no reason for this. We have First Amendment rights. Part of our First Amendment right clearly states that we have the right to redress our government without fear of retaliation or retaliation.”
The video appears to show a city council member trying to intervene, saying, “Mayor, you have to let her speak.”
The tug-of-war continued for various residents, with the mayor speaking over each of them. The meeting ended when the city council members walked out.
While the free speech issue is at the heart of the lawsuit, City Attorney Richard Albright told ClickonDetroit that the mayor has the right and authority to suspend certain comments or conversations.
“If it’s going to become an issue of racial accusations or something like that, then certainly the mayor has the right, as the controller of the meeting, to shut that down, but otherwise, anybody has free rein,” Albright told The Associated Press. medium. .
Owens later defended his actions, telling Local 4, “I don’t think that’s the place to re-victimize myself, to use that as a place of ridicule and I won’t let them do that to anyone.”
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
FIRE said in its announcement that Eastpointe police did not arrest Curley for the alleged assault and that prosecutors never filed charges.
Mayor Owens first took office in 2019. Her current term ends in November 2023.