The town of Quartzsite, Ariz., has been in the headlines several times lately, and a state investigation was launched after such odd reports as:
- A man was ordered to give up his guns after he allegedly “glared” at a town official.
- A woman was forcibly removed from a public town meeting by police even though the mayor pleaded her cause.
- Some sort of secret decision was made to quit paying the mayor, as police officers were wrongly being fired.
- “Several hundred” emails prompted a declaration of a state of emergency.
Now the state has taken the unusual step of releasing a statement amid its investigation, confirming there is “reasonable cause” to believe officials in Quartzsite, after getting worldwide attention by having officers forcibly remove a woman from speaking at a town-hall meeting, have broken the law.
State Attorney General Tom Horne said about his investigation of Quartzsite:
Normally, we do not release the results of an investigation until it has been completed. However, because this is a matter of unusual public interest, we are prepared to say that, based on review of a video of a July 10 meeting, there is reasonable cause to believe that there has been a violation of the Open Meeting Law, inasmuch as the public was excluded.
The meeting was held under the misconception that an
emergency meeting can be conducted without the public present.
Independently of the question of whether the town council had a
legitimate reason to hold an emergency meeting, even proper emergency
meetings must allow the public to be present. The exception is if there
is a legitimate basis for an executive session, and the city council
did not attempt to hold a proper executive session during the emergency
The investigation of this and other alleged violations of Open Meeting Laws is ongoing.
The controversy in Quartzsite began June 28 when a fiasco developed at town hall. As shown on YouTube, Jennifer Jones, publisher of the Desert Freedom Press, was physically ousted from a council meeting over the vocal objections of Mayor Ed Foster, who pleaded with his own police not to remove her.
Then, just days ago, Town Councilman Joe Winslow, who admits he’s been diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, obtained from elected Justice of the Peace Karen Slaughter a harassment injunction against gem dealer and online entrepreneur Michael Roth.
As a result, Roth was forced to relinquish all of his weapons.
Winslow had warned, “I have been diagnosed with PTSD … that’s what I’m concerned with, that he’s gonna get so far into my personal space that I’m gonna react without thinking.”
Winslow claimed Roth verbally chastised him.
Town officials did not respond to a request from WND for comment on the pronouncement from the attorney general today.
Winslow explained why he thought Roth’s firearms needed to be confiscated.
Councilman Joe Winslow of Quartzsite, Ariz., sparked the confiscation of firearms from town resident Michael Roth.
“I know that I’m 71 years old. I don’t want to be a statistic, I don’t want to go to jail and I don’t want to go in the hospital,” Winslow said. “But based on my history of 24 years in the service, I am more concerned about my reaction to his aggression than anything else, especially now that I believe that he is carrying a handgun. His actions have demonstrated in the past to me that he is not in full control of his emotions.”
Winslow also said he has been flooded with several hundred emails from Americans not happy about his demand to silence Jones, whom he called “disruptive.”
“They’re contacting people all over the country with similar political beliefs and that’s why we had to declare a state of emergency, and Mr. Roth is involved in that,” Winslow claimed..
Citing reasons for the restraining order, Winslow stated on his official complaint form that on July 1 Roth blocked him from entering town hall. Winslow claimed Roth said, “Hey, Terd (sic), where’s the keys to the arms locker?” Roth allegedly continued, saying, “Tell one of the other terds (sic) to bring out a key.”
Quartzsite Councilman Joe Winslow lists reasons he sought a restraining order against resident Michael Roth, claiming his entrance to town hall was blocked and that he was called a synonym for dog feces.
Additionally, Winslow told Slaughter that after a meeting several months ago, “I was talking to someone and I saw [Roth] glaring at me, and I said something like, ‘What’s your problem?’ … It was very uncomfortable.”
Slaughter granted Winslow’s request for the injunction, saying, “I will go ahead an issue the order. However, on the portion for [Roth] to stay away from the town council or the from the Town Hall, I don’t think I can give a blanket order to do that. What it’s going to say is that if he has to have specific personal business at the town, then he’ll have to call and make an appointment. … He can make an appointment if he wants to talk about his water bill or whatever the case may be, then that way you can leave or whatever so that you don’t have to have a confrontation with him.”
Roth, 46, is outraged at the mandate, telling WND his constitutional rights are being “completely” violated.
“Town hall is where anyone in America can air their grievances to the public and to the politicians. Now I am ordered to stay away, effectively stopping me from warning others about the police state we live in,” he said. “And in these times of rising crime, I can’t even defend myself or my family because a crooked councilman and a misguided judge are worried about what the councilman might do to me because of his self-confessed mental instabilities. It’s complete insanity!”
A recording of the July 19 hearing in front of Slaughter has been posted on YouTube.
Mayor Ed Foster, who’s been at war with his own council and Police Chief Jeff Gilbert,
whom he has called corrupt and “a Nazi,” believes potentially millions
of dollars of taxpayer money is being illegally funneled through secret
checks to unnamed council members.
During the course of events, there also were reports that the paychecks to the mayor had been halted and a number of officers dismissed.
A Facebook support page for Mayor Foster has been inundated with viewers and messages of solidarity.