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Roswell Mayor Lori Henry kicks out citizen Patrick Cahill after calling for firing of Police Chief Rusty Grant 08/13/18

Posted: August 19th, 2018, 11:00 am
by Nydia Tisdale
Former State Trooper Patrick Cahill kicked out of Roswell City Council by Mayor Lori Henry after calling for firing of Police Chief Rusty Grant on Monday, August 13, 2018. WATCH UNTIL THE END.

Video by Brendan Keefe for 11Alive WXIA.

Former State Trooper Kicked Out of Roswell City Council After Calling for Police Chief's Firing
By Brendan Keefe 11Alive
Published Aug 15, 2018

Roswell has open mic nights at city council, but restricts public commentary to each agenda subject during other meetings. This item was about property tax rates. Patrick Cahill, a former state trooper, said council members were not entitled to a tax increase because they had failed in their fiduciary duty to the taxpayers, namely hiring a firm to "babysit" the police chief instead of firing him, and quietly offering a city park to a private developer. Even though he framed those comments within the scope of the millage rate increase, he was gavelled down by Mayor Lori Henry, and escorted out of council by police. In other words, the government objected to the CONTENT of his speech.

First Amendment Violation by Roswell, GA Mayor Lori Henry?

Posted: August 19th, 2018, 11:15 am
by Nydia Tisdale

Video by Positively Roswell, and edited by David Black.

1st Amendment Violation by Roswell, GA Mayor?
By Dave Black
Published Aug 14, 2018
Video Footage by Positively Roswell

On August 9, the mayor of Roswell announced a 130+ court tennis complex was to be built be on top of a densely wooded green-space called Big Creek - an established, active, and popular park for mountain bikers, hikers, and families.

When the news broke, the public was outraged and began protesting to save the park. Despite their success saving the park, there was still lingering outrage over the lack of transparency by the newly elected mayor who ran on a platform of "transparency".

At the city hall meeting on August 13, 2018, the protestors (in red shirts) were instructed not to address the Big Creek topic during open-comments. A citizen took the floor and addressed a specific item on the agenda and began to explain why he couldn't support it due to the lack of council and mayoral transparency exhibited in the Big Creek topic. He was not directly addressing the tennis facility - simply explaining why he couldn't support an item on the agenda.

Instead of calmly saying "thank you for your feedback", the mayor had him removed by security and scolded the audience. Is this a constitutional violation of the 1st Amendment?

Open Government Mediation Program

Posted: August 19th, 2018, 11:30 am
by Nydia Tisdale

Jana Rodgers calls for Roswell Mayor Lori Henry to apologize to the citizen she had thrown out of the council meeting

Posted: August 19th, 2018, 11:45 am
by Nydia Tisdale

Facebook Comments

Jana Rodgers She needs to apologize to the citizen she had thrown out of the council meeting. Pending litigation perhaps?
Friday, August 17, 2018 at 6:23pm

Mike Nyden I guess anyone can sue over anything, but on what grounds?
Friday, August 17, 2018 at 6:48pm

Jana Rodgers 1st & 4th Amendment violations; GA Open Meetings violation. Lots of similarities between this situation and Tisdale v. Gravitt, especially on the 4th Amendment piece:

"A `seizure' triggering the Fourth Amendment's protections occurs only when government actors have, `by means of physical force or show of authority,... in some way restrained the liberty of a citizen.'" Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386, 395 n. 10, 109 S.Ct. 1865, 104 L.Ed.2d 443 (1989) (quoting Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 19 n. 16, 88 S.Ct. 1868, 20 L.Ed.2d 889 (1968)). Three types of encounters between police and citizens implicate the Fourth Amendment: "(1) police-citizen exchanges involving no coercion or detention; (2) brief seizures or investigatory detentions; and (3) full-scale arrests.... [A]n encounter that does not involve coercion or detention does not implicate Fourth Amendment scrutiny." Miller v. Harget, 458 F.3d 1251, 1257 (11th Cir.2006) (quoting Perez, 443 F.3d at 777) (internal quotation marks omitted). A show of authority can be a seizure if the subject yields to that authority. California v. Hodari D., 499 U.S. 621, 625-26, 111 S.Ct. 1547, 113 L.Ed.2d 690 (1991). "Whenever an officer restrains the freedom of a person to walk away, he has seized that person." West v. Davis, 767 F.3d 1063 (11th Cir.2014) (quoting Tennessee v. Garner, 471 U.S. 1, 7, 105 S.Ct. 1694, 85 L.Ed.2d 1 (1985)) (internal modifications omitted). "If a reasonable person would feel free to terminate the encounter, then he or she has not been seized." Miller, 458 F.3d at 1257 (quoting Perez, 443 F.3d at 777-78 (emphasis omitted)).

In determining whether a plaintiff has been seized, the Court considers the totality of the circumstances. Id. at 1258 (citing Perez, 443 F.3d at 778). "Certain circumstances might indicate a seizure, even where the person did not attempt to leave, including the display of a weapon by an officer or the use of language or tone of voice indicating that compliance with the officer's request might be compelled." United States v. House, 684 F.3d 1173, 1199 (11th Cir.2012), cert. denied, ___ U.S. ___, 133 S.Ct. 1633, 185 L.Ed.2d 616 (U.S.2013) (quoting Mendenhall, 446 U.S. at 554, 100 S.Ct. 1870) (internal quotations and modifications omitted).

The parties dispute whether Chief Tatum grabbed Plaintiff's wrist. (See Defs.' Resp. to Pl.'s SOMF, Dkt. [83-1] ¶ 9.) But even if Chief Tatum did not physically restrain Plaintiff, a show of authority may be sufficient to constitute a seizure. "Absent the use of physical force, a seizure requires both a show of authority and `submission to [that] assertion of authority.'" United States v. Dolomon, 569 Fed.Appx. 889 (11th Cir.2014) (quoting California v. Hodari D., 499 U.S. 621, 626, 111 S.Ct. 1547, 113 L.Ed.2d 690 (1991)). At the City Council meeting, Police Chief Tatum was armed and in uniform when he approached Plaintiff. (Pl.'s SOMF, Dkt. [69-1] ¶ 9.) Chief Tatum told Plaintiff to leave the room and "escorted" her to the back of the room. (Id. ¶ 20; Defs.' SOMF, Dkt. [63-4] ¶ 25.) Accordingly, the inquiry is whether Chief Tatum's appearance, approach to, and contact with Plaintiff, combined with the directions given to Chief Tatum by Mayor Gravitt, would leave a reasonable person in Plaintiff's position feeling that she could terminate the encounter.

[51 F.Supp.3d 1397]

The Court finds that this inquiry presents a genuine issue of material fact and as such is not suitable for resolution by summary judgment. The Court now turns to the second prong of the Fourth Amendment inquiry: if the jury determines that Plaintiff was seized, whether that seizure was reasonable.

2. Reasonableness of Seizure

The Court next considers whether, if the jury determines that Plaintiff was in fact seized, such seizure was unreasonable and thus unconstitutional. "Whenever a police officer accosts an individual and restrains his freedom to walk away, he has seized that person, and the Fourth Amendment requires that the seizure be reasonable." U.S. v. Brignoni-Ponce, 422 U.S. 873, 878, 95 S.Ct. 2574, 45 L.Ed.2d 607 (1975) (quoting Terry,392 U.S. at 16, 88 S.Ct. 1868) (internal quotations and modifications omitted). The level of Fourth Amendment scrutiny applied in the reasonableness inquiry depends on the category of the police-citizen encounter. U.S. v. Perkins, 348 F.3d 965, 969 (11th Cir.2003). Here, Plaintiff's encounter with Police Chief Tatum and Deputy Police Chief Cook falls within the second category: a brief seizure or investigatory detention that requires "an objective, reasonable suspicion of criminal activity." See Terry, 392 U.S. at 20, 88 S.Ct. 1868; U.S. v. Purcell, 236 F.3d 1274, 1277 (11th Cir.2001).

Defendants seem to concede an absence of reasonable suspicion. Police Chief Tatum testified that he believes Plaintiff was not violating any law at the time. Defendants cannot show that, even if Plaintiff was seized, the seizure was reasonable. Thus, Defendants are not entitled to summary judgment on the basis of the reasonableness of any seizure."

Saturday, August 18, 2018 at 9:22am

Attorney General Sam Olens Prevails in Lawsuit Defending Open Government

Posted: August 19th, 2018, 12:00 pm
by Nydia Tisdale

Nydeo by Nydia Tisdale for

Georgia Department of Law

Attorney General Sam Olens Prevails in Lawsuit Defending Open Government

August 26, 2014

On August 21, 2014, Judge Robert Adamson ruled in favor of Attorney General Sam Olens in a lawsuit filed in June 2012 against the City of Cumming and Mayor Henry Ford Gravitt for violations of the Open Meetings Act. Judge Adamson ordered the defendants to pay $12,000 in penalties, the highest amount possible under the law. Defendants have also been ordered to pay attorney’s fees in an amount to be determined at a later hearing.

“This ruling is a major victory for government transparency,” said Olens. “Georgians deserve a government that operates openly and honestly. The essence of our democracy is that elected officials are held accountable to the citizens and that citizens are allowed to exercise their rights granted by the First Amendment.”

At a Cumming City Council meeting on April 17, 2012, Mayor Gravitt demanded that citizen Nydia Tisdale cease filming the meeting and subsequently ordered her to leave the meeting. Ms. Tisdale returned to the meeting with another hand held camera and was again told to stop recording the meeting. Georgia’s Open Meetings Act expressly provides that visual and sound recording during open meetings shall be permitted.

“My office takes very seriously our responsibility to enforce the Open Meetings and Open Records Acts," Olens added. "The actions by the mayor in this circumstance were egregious, and it is essential that he be held responsible for his actions.”

Attorney General Olens is a long-time advocate of open government. In 2012, he championed the first overhaul of Georgia’s Open Meetings and Open Records Acts in over a decade, which were signed into law with sweeping approval by the Georgia General Assembly. The revised sunshine laws are more user-friendly and provide tougher penalties for violations. Additionally, the updated law allows the Attorney General to bring civil actions for violations of the sunshine laws. This lawsuit marks the first civil action brought by the Attorney General under the revised law.

“The Georgia First Amendment Foundation (GFAF) is thrilled to see the ‘new’ open government law in action. Enforcement of the state’s Open Meetings and Records Acts are a critical component of the duties of the Office of the Attorney General, and we are delighted to see access rights preserved. We were particularly pleased by the use of the new civil penalties provisions of the new open government laws, and look forward to seeing more of these types of cases,” said Hyde Post, President of GFAF.

A copy of the order is attached.

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