The far western Arizona town of Quartzsite was in disarray Monday after the town council ousted the mayor from power and declared a state of emergency, all over an online video that shows a woman being arrested.
Mayor Ed Foster said the town council held a last-minute meeting that was closed to the public Sunday night, declaring a state of emergency in the 3,600-person town just east of the California city of Blythe.
The council’s declaration put police Chief Jeff Gilbert in charge, making Foster the “deputy chief executive of nothing right now,” he said. It also allows the five-member council to meet without public notice and suspend all public comment at the meetings until they declare the state of emergency over.
However, Vice Mayor Barbara Cowell denies the city is under any type of emergency order and told ABC15 “it’s business as usual.”
Cowell did admit city council members, on advice from the city attorney, had an emergency meeting Sunday night after all six council members received threatening e-mails, even death threats, over a video posted online. “It scares the hell out of me, I’m sorry to say,” said Cowell.
The video shows a woman identified as Jennifer Jones being arrested and hauled away from a council meeting after she said the council was violating open-meetings laws. Jones was speaking during a public comment period, and Foster is heard on the video telling other council members who ordered her removed that “the lady has the floor.”
“It was emergency measures pertaining to the emails we’ve gotten, what we can do to protect our people,” said Cowell.
On Monday, Foster filed paperwork with the Arizona Attorney General’s Office complaining Sunday’s emergency meeting violated the state’s open meetings law.
H/t Patriot Action Network.
See also my July 11 post on the state of emergency, HERE.