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Police Arrest 60-Year-Old Woman Speaking At City Council Meeting

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RIVERSIDE (CBSLA.com) — A Riverside woman is facing misdemeanor charges following her arrest for speaking too long at a Riverside City Council meeting, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reported Thursday.

Karen Wright, whose arrest was videotaped and obtained by the paper, was cited for disrupting a public meeting Tuesday night.

“The incident unfolded after Wright exceeded her allotted three minutes to speak at the lectern while commenting on a sludge hauling contract,” the paper reported.

Wright, 60, was initially handcuffed by two officers while she was on her knees.

In video of the incident, Wright can be heard yelling in pain as officers tried to bring her to her feet.

“Can you see my wrists? You’re pulling and jerking on my wrists!” she said. “I cannot get up without putting my hands down!”

Wright was later led out of the building.

“City officials said officers used their discretion when Wright didn’t follow the rules,” according to the Press-Enterprise. Council members deny ordering her arrest.

An unidentified meeting spectator can also be heard in the background of the video: “Are you guys kidding me? . . . Stop!”

Another person can be heard saying, “This is your legacy, Mayor. Your legacy.”

Wright was given a citation with a date to appear in court.

Riverside Mayor Ron Loveridge, who has been presiding over the City Council for 32, said the incident was the first time he had seen anyone arrested during one of their meetings. He said that police will no longer be able to arrest speakers unless the council chairman — which is the mayor — directs them to do so.

City Council meetings are typically recorded and the video posted on the city website, but Tuesday’s incident was not caught on camera; that’s because Loveridge called a recess when police intervened and the video camera is typically turned off during council recesses.

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