Disruptive speakers at City Hall meetings could be charged with trespassing
City News Service | 4/6/2017, midnight
The motion is just the latest in an ongoing conflict the council has had with public speakers who push the boundaries of decorum. The conflicts often lead to bizarre interactions in which a council member in the middle of a serious conversation about city issues must pause to admonish a member of the audience to stop playing with a puppet or to stop making animal noises.
An Encino lawyer, Wayne Spindler, was arrested last year after he submitted a comment card with Ku Klux Klan imagery and a racial slur on it that Council President Herb Wesson said he took as a threat, although the district
attorney declined to charge Spindler. Spindler later filed a federal lawsuit against the city over the incident.
Spindler was also charged last week by the Los Angeles city attorney for illegal possession of a firearm. Wesson sought and received a restraining order against Spindler, and as a result of the order, Spindler had to turn in all his firearms to the police department. Among the weapons was an unregistered and illegal AK-47 assault rifle, according to the city attorney’s office.
Another frequent guest speaker who is often ejected from meetings, Armondo Herman, brought a box cutter to a Public Safety Committee hearing last year, although he was not arrested when police discovered it. He was ejected after he refused to stop dancing in the aisles while holding a doll adorned in a KKK outfit.
A man in 2014 received a $215,000 legal settlement with the city after being ejected from a meeting for wearing a KKK hood. Councilman Mitch O’Farrell also last year secured a temporary a restraining order against the man, Michael Hunt, but a permanent restraining order was denied by a judge, the Los Angeles Daily News reported.
Herman spoke at today’s meeting in opposition of the motion.
“We the public object. We object because you are in violation of our constitutional right to free speech and expression,” Herman said.