A small town in Arizona is suddenly a YouTube sensation after a town-hall meeting devolved into a physical clash as a woman was forcibly removed from speaking during the public portion of the event.
Jennifer “Jade” Jones, 45, of Quartzsite, Ariz., was taken into custody by local police at the behest of Quartzsite councilmembers, over the objections of the mayor, who pleaded with officers not to remove the woman.
The incident took place June 28 during the “call to the public” section of the meeting, as Jones, a pet groomer who also publishes the Desert Freedom Press, was addressing matters of taxation and meeting protocol.
Some councilmembers interrupted Jones as she was addressing the council and audience, ordering her to relinquish the microphone.
Councilman Joe Winslow of Quartzsite, Ariz., led the charge to have Jennifer Jones removed from speaking.
“You may leave, or you may be escorted out,” Councilman Joe Winslow warned Jones.
Jones immediately told Winslow, “You can leave or be escorted out as well. You are out of order.”
Then, as police Sgt. Fabiola Garcia attempted to take the microphone away from Jones, Mayor Ed Foster came to the defense of Jones and interjected, “Officer, that woman has the floor. You’re violating my rules of order here. Sergeant, I have control of the meeting.”
Jones was able to speak for a few moments more, but councilmembers insisted police move in and subdue her.
“Do not resist the officer!” Police Chief Jeff Gilbert instructed Jones, who responded, “I am not resisting!”
When Jones refused to give up the microphone, officers forcibly removed her from the premises, and cited her for disorderly conduct. Jones suffered a torn ligament in her elbow during the scuffle, and was transported to La Paz Regional Hospital.
In an interview with WND, Jones said she was never informed she was “under arrest,” and so she’ll seek charges of kidnapping and aggravated assault against the officers.
“That’s what I’ll ask for. It’ll be up to the state attorney general,” she said. “I’ve never seen in my entire life such a group of people with such contempt for the law.”
Jones, who claims she’s been previously harassed by police, says recently some officers – including Chief Jeff Gilbert – have been acting more erratically and dangerously, and says he even gave a speech comparing outspoken citizens like herself to Jared Loughner, the gunman who shot Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson on Jan. 8.
Just three days after the shooting that killed six people and left 14 others injured including the congresswoman, Gilbert quoted a comment published in Jones’ paper that read in part: “So Jeff and Q.P.D., the next time you piss off a patriot, think maybe, just maybe they won’t be as calm as I am. You think nothing bad will ever happen to you because you are a cop with a 10-cent badge and a gun? Don’t be so sure. … As this economy gets worse and the people get more desperate, remember that desperate people do desperate things. And as people start to lose it, they simply lose it.”
Gilbert then explained, “These words are warning signs. The propaganda that’s being spread about the local government – these are warning signs. The behavior, the outbursts, the actions that have been taking place in some of these council meetings, they are warning signs.”
“‘He’s setting up to shoot us!’ That’s what we thought. He’s coming up with a pretense to pull a gun,” Jones said. “Police are to protect and serve, not to harass and intimidate. It has to stop. Someone’s going to get really hurt, not just a torn ligament.”
When asked about the actions of the non-partisan town council, Jones said, “I liken them to monkeys in the zoo. They make a lot of noise and throw a lot of feces around, but at the end of the day they’re just primates and don’t deserve to be writing checks for [a town of] about 3,800 people. They don’t deserve to be managing money. They don’t act like they’re at the top of the food chain. It’s embarrassing.”
Mayor Ed Foster of Quartzsite, Ariz., says his town is filled with massive corruption among government officials.
Mayor Foster, a retired Marine and former engineer for Wrigley Chewing Gum, is standing by Jones’ account, and says the town council and police department are filled with corruption.
“He’s just an insane person, that chief of police,” the mayor said of Gilbert. “He’s a Nazi … he’s completely out of control. He thinks he’s running the town.”
WND sought comment from Gilbert, but a 9-1-1 dispatcher said the town was dealing with a massive power outage this afternoon, and the chief could not be reached.
Mayor Foster said it’s not just the police chief, but also the town manager and tax collector who are creating a terrifying atmosphere.
“People in town are scared to death of them,” he said. “It’s just a clear pattern of harassment and intimidation by this government. These people have run this town like they owned it. It’s got to be fixed and I’m not going to quit until I see them in jail.”
The mayor says the council has even precluded him from examining the payroll. He believes he’s uncovered some possible financial wrongdoing involving checks being paid to unknown personnel, and he speculates the recipients could be councilmembers themselves.
“They’re playing a sleight-of-hand with federal money,” Foster said. “I’ve tried to get the FBI, the governor and attorney general involved, and no one has paid attention. But since this video, people are asking, ‘What’s going on in Quartzsite?'”
The town of Quartzsite is located some two hours by car west of Phoenix, at the intersection of Interstate 10 and U.S. Highway 95.
“There’s nothing but jack-rabbits and coyotes here,” noted the mayor. “We’re in the middle of nowhere, 40 miles from the nearest Walmart.”
Foster calls the councilmembers “idiots depriving people of their First Amendment rights,” and thinks a reckoning could soon be forthcoming for them.
“I got 1,200 emails yesterday,” he said, as the YouTube video has soared to nearly 40,000 views. “All of a sudden, everyone’s commenting. If I were them, I’d be scared to death.”
One of those emails was from Robert Bright, stating, “I hope to dear God Jennifer Jones sues your city for every penny she can get! Your type of thuggish governing is why our Founding Fathers of the American colonies decided to throw off the tyrannical rule of King George of England in 1776.”
Town officials are also being verbally scorched in online messageboards.
Byron Brunskill commented, “Liberty does not exist in the United States under the rule of people like this council. We need the right of recall of all elected politicians including the Congress and the president of the United States.”
Dave Kawasaki said, “People seem to have forgotten just how to control their local governments. I hope the arrestee sues everyone involved, in both personal and professional/elected capacity. I hope she wins enough to bankrupt them all, and I hope she runs for office on the proceeds.”
The next council meeting is slated for Tuesday night.
“It promises to be just as dynamic as they’ve been,” Mayor Foster said.
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