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CM Mayor Puts Choke-hold On First Amendment During Immigration Crackdown

by John Earl Saturday, Jan. 14, 2006 at 2:33 PM
admin@ocorganizer.com

Mayor Allan Mansoor of Costa Mesa lets lets Minuteman followers have there say, but cuts off immigrant rights activists.

CM Mayor Puts Choke-...
headlock2.jpg, image/jpeg, 329x260

Analysis by John Earl

jearl@ocorganizer.com

(Note: to view video clips and hear audio clips of the conflict, as well as see more photos and related links, please go to: http://ocorganizer.com/html/monsoor.html

Costa Mesa Mayor Allan Mansoor believes that America is “a nation of laws.” That’s why, he says, the city’s police should be first in the nation to directly help deport “illegal aliens.” But conduct by Monsoor at two recent Costa Mesa city council meetings–-revealed mayoron video logs from two separate sources–-raises questions about his ability to correctly and impartially uphold the law, including basic First Amendment rights. Recent incidents also demand an examination of the constitutionality of Costa Mesa Municipal Codes related to public speech.

Mansoor sparked chaos during the public comments session of the January 3rd Costa Mesa city council where about 80 immigrant rights supporters versus 40 supporters of the recent closure of the city’s immigrant labor center and its new immigration law enforcement policy had converged for debate.

But of the total number of speakers on the subject of the city’s immigration policies, 18 were supportive of the mayor, one took the middle ground and only nine were opposed. Scores of people who were opposed to the mayor were not allowed to speak, and many tried but were not allowed to enter the council chambers.

Mansoor abruptly told immigrant rights activist Coyotly Tezcalipoca that his speaking time was up and adjourned the meeting. Tezcalipoca was pushed out of the council chambers by police officers and was later charged with resisting a peace officer and violating city codes by unlawfully addressing the city council and disorderliness.

Referring to Tezcalipoca, Chief of Police John Hensley told the Daily Pilot that “the individual’s time was up. He was asked to step away from the podium. He got angry and refused to follow instructions of the officers.” A report by OC Register reporter Brian Martinez stated that Texcalipoca “strongly resisted” before “officers dragged him out.” Martinez was sitting in the front row of the council chambers.

bigotBut Duane Roberts, who was standing close to the incident, and who acted as liaison between police and protesters that night, told the OCO that Tezcalipoca was “violently pushed” out of the council chambers by police. “At no time do I recall seeing Coytly resist arrest,” Roberts said.

Video records of the conflict show that Tezcalipoca’s time was not up, that resistance was absent or minimal and that he did not engage in disorderly conduct while the council meeting was in session. Other video clips from the January 3rd and December 6th city council meetings show that Mansoor applies one standard of conduct to his supporters and another to his critics.

The city’s online video of the January 3rd council meeting reveals the following sequence:

Speaking from the podium, Tezcalipoca demands that the city withdraw from a proposed agreement with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) branch of the federal government and accuses the council members who voted for it and for the recent closure of the city’s labor center for immigrants of gentrification by removing Latino immigrants from Costa Mesa.

“We know that you guys want to change the demographics of Costa Mesa,” he says. “We know your plot...We are going to be here and we’re going tstandagainsto fight this to the end. We’re not going to let this pass.”

Tezcalipoca then asks for members of the audience who agree with him to stand, but the Mayor interrupts him:

“No. I’m not going to do that.

Tezcalipoca: (to the audience) “Do it! Do it! Do it!”

Then, at 2 minutes and 18 seconds into Texcalipoca’s speech, Mayor Monsoor closes the meeting. “You know, we’re going to call for a break here. As a matter of fact”–

Tezcalipoca: (unitelligible)

Mayor: “His (sic) time is up, sir.”

Tezcalipoca (talking at the same time as the mayor): “Why are you talking then?”

Mayor: “It’s time for our public hearing. We’re going to call for a break here (at this point the city’s camera turns to the mayor where it remains) and when we return we’ll be starting with our public hearing”–

Tezcalipoca: “I’m not finished.”

Mayor: “--per our ordinance to conduct public hearings at 7 o’clock. Thank you.”

The city’s video turns off the regular sound and plays background music instead.

The “ordinance” that Mansoor refers to is actually a city council timeupresolution, but it doesn’t require public hearings to start at 7 P.M. Instead, Resolution 05-55 says that public hearings shall start “no earlier” than 7 P.M. “but as close as possible to, 7:00 P.M.” According to a reading of the time stamp on the city’s video, Mansoor had cut Tezcalipoca’s speech after 58 minutes and 21 seconds from the start of the council meeting. If the meeting started at 6 P.M. as planned, Tezcalipoca could have been given his final 21 seconds of speech without running into overtime. In any case, the Mayor is not obligated to start public hearings at 7 P.M.

Unlike the city’s video record, a video clip published on www.immigrationwatchdog.com includes the entire incident until Tezcalipoca was forced out the council chamber door. That account clearly shows that there is absolutely no “disorderly” conduct from Tezcalipoca when council is in session and strongly suggests he offered little or no physical resistance to officers at anytime prior to being taken outside.

removedThe video shows that one of several officers to surround Tezcalipoca during the incident places his hand on him as if to lead him off the podium. Tezcalipoca then talks to the officers, but doesn’t immediately leave. An officer then pushes the microphone away from Tezcalipoca’s face. Next, Tezcalipoca voluntarily walks (apparently limping several times) with officers toward the door. Suddenly, he says something to one of the police officers, apparently wanting to pick up his speech copy that he had left on the podium. The officer starts back toward the podium to grab the paper, but Tezcalipoca gets there nd angrily picks it up first. He starts to turn back toward the door. The officer facing him attempts to physically escort him, but Tezcalipoca lifts his arms and is soon heard saying several times “Don’t touch me” while also gesturing toward the door, possibly to say that he can walk on his own. Police Chief Hensley approaches and, according to one close-by witness, orders the officers to take Tezcalipoca outside. Two officers immediately grab him–one taking him by the back of his neck, the other by the arm–and quickly force him out the door.

Pandemonium breaks out in the council chambers. One woman yells repeatedly to Mansoor that he is a racist. Another loudly and histrionically sings “We shall overcome.” Then a group of the Mayor’s supporters break into an equally offensive rendition of “God headlock2bless America.”

It’s much less clear what happened on the outside. Several people claimed to have seen a Spanish language news network video showing police kicking Tezcalipoca. Several clips seen by this writer showed Tezcalipoca being choked and dragged along the ground and into an adjacent building. One officer is seen sitting on him while another drags both Tezcalipoca and the officer along the floor. All of this occurred under the watchful eye of a rather large and very angry crowd of Tezcalipoca’s supporters. One officer who I saw directly had a look of near panic on his face as he looked into the crowd which was yelling “why did you hit him?” (click here for audio)

Tezcalipoca has declined to comment about the incident for the record, pending consultation with his attorney.

Special Treatment For The Minuteman

There is nothing in the Costa Mesa Municipal Code that specifically prohibits a speaker from addressing the audience or precludes audience members standing as an expressionstanding of speech. But both the www.immigrationwatch.com (see video link below) and city videos indicate that the chaos was triggered by Mansoor’s objection to Texcalipoca’s request that audience members stand up to show solidarity. Yet, earlier in the same council meeting, Mansoor thanked Minuteman co-founder Jim Gilchrist, who supports the ICE proposal and gave high praise to the Mayor and other council members after his supporters rose and sat back down.

Gilchrist: “My name is Jim Gilchrist. I’m the founder of the Minuteman Project. At the end of my speech, I’m going to ask all the members of the Minuteman Project and their supporters to stand up rather than applaud and make a lot of noise. Okay? Will ya stand up?”

Mayor: “Actually–thank you. I appreciate that.” (Click here for audio)

Register reporter Brian Martinez claimed that an interview with the Mayor and a review of video footage “revealed that he [Mansoor] started to tell the Minutemen to stop standing and then cut his sentence short when they sat down quickly.” But the video footage ontopfails to back that interpretation and although Monsoor interrupted Gilchrist, he did so to praise him and clarify whether he would be speaking for others in his group, not to admonish as he did to Tezcalipoca.

Further evidence of the Mayor’s bias in enforcing rules can be seen in the city’s video record of public comments for the December 6th city council meeting–on the same night that the Mayor introduced his ICE proposal and a special election in the 48th Congressional District–in which Gilchrist was a candidate and illegal immigration was the main issue–took place. When a woman opposed to the proposal asked audience members to stand the mayor interrupted with “if you could please keep your comments to the council, please.”

Was The Mayor “Disorderly?”

Mansoor may have himself violated Costa Mesa’s Municipal Code. Section 2-60, regarding “Propriety of conduct of council members,” states that “Members of the council shall not, by disorderly, insolent or disturbing action, speech, or otherwise, substantially delay, interrupt or disturb the proceedings fo the council.” Clearly, Mansoor’s arbitrary actions January 6th created the very situation that city codes are meant to prevent.

January 3rd wasn’t the fist time that Mansoor cut off Tezcalipoca’s speaking time and caused disruption of a city council meeting. At the December 6th meeting Mansoor got upset when Tezcalipoca called him a “racist pig.”

Mayor: “Sir, if you would please stop with the –

Tezcalipoca: “I’m calling things the way they are and you are a racist pig and that’s it.”

Mayor: “If you’re going to get out of line we’re going to ask you to leave.”

Tezcalipoca: “You’re out of line...23 million of my people–”

Mayor: “Sir, if you don’t stop it now.

Police officer: “Your time is up.”

Mayor: “Sir, your time is up.”

Tezcalipoca: “It’s not up. It’s not up.”

Mayor: (at 1 minute 45 seconds into the 3 minute speaking period) “Your time is up and we’re going to take a break.”

Tezcalipoca: “Are you going to let me finish or not? You fucking racist pig!”

Mayor: “We’ll take a break, please.”

City Codes Vs. First Amendement

Mansoor’s interpretation of city codes and parts of the codes themselves probably violate the First Amendment of the US Constitution. The relevant facts are well explained in an article by David L. Hudson Jr., a research attorney for the First Amendment Center. Hudson says that court rulings give government officials considerable latitude for maintaining order at public meetings. City officials may regulate subject matter, repetition, time limits or any behavior that “seriously violates rules of procedure that the council has established to govern conduct at its meetings,” according to a 2001 federal court ruling.

But those rules cannot apply to some speakers and not others and they must be consistent and content neutral. A speaker cannot be silenced because of his viewpoint. And personal attacks may not be prohibited, which means that Tezcalipoca was probably within his right to call the Mayor a racist pig and that Costa Mesa’s prohibition of “personal, impertinent, profane, insolent, or slanderous remarks” sits on shaky constitutional ground. “In essence,” says Hudson, “the government must live up to the values embodied in the First Amendment.”

Tezcalipoca and other protesters have vowed to return to future city council meetings until the city’s day labor center is reopened and the ICE proposal is rescinded.

Tezcalipoca will appear at the Harbor Justice Center for arraignment on February 3 at 8:30 AM.

Mayor Allan Mansoor can be emailed at amansoor@ci.costa-mesa.ca.us

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Minuteman gets special treatment

by John Earl Saturday, Jan. 14, 2006 at 2:33 PM
admin@ocorganizer.com

Minuteman gets speci...
standing.jpg, image/jpeg, 354x288

When Jim Gilchrist asked supporters of the mayor's immigration rights crackdown to stand, the Mayor thanked him. But, later, when Coytly Tezcalipoca asked critics of the city council's decision to team up with Customs agents to deport "illegal aliens," he was pushed out of the council chambers, placed in a choke-hold and dragged away to be arrested.

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LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
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TITLE AUTHOR DATE
Truly inteligent discourse Quizling Sunday, Jan. 15, 2006 at 2:18 PM
Mansoor is American, but his background Moreleigh Sunday, Jan. 15, 2006 at 8:59 PM
Re: Mansoor is American, but his background Queen Nefertiti Sunday, Jan. 15, 2006 at 10:23 PM
"illeratecy" johnk Monday, Jan. 16, 2006 at 2:41 AM
JohnK Is bad spelling a crime? Monday, Jan. 16, 2006 at 10:42 AM
Is bad spelling a crime? yes Monday, Jan. 16, 2006 at 10:51 AM
fine. The 'collective' [?] Monday, Jan. 16, 2006 at 11:27 AM
Answer johnk Monday, Jan. 16, 2006 at 3:01 PM
Answer to your Answer Quizling Monday, Jan. 16, 2006 at 4:01 PM
Explaination Quizling Monday, Jan. 16, 2006 at 4:14 PM
Some justification looks to me Fredric L. Rice Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2006 at 1:43 PM
reply Jammer CC Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2006 at 1:49 PM
Hate to disappoint you Street Soldier Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2006 at 6:03 PM
Language johnk Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2006 at 11:59 PM
Correction johnk Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2006 at 12:02 AM
be nice pete nice Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2006 at 12:08 AM
Answer ^ 3 johnk Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2006 at 12:50 AM
Irrelevent Fredric L. Rice Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2006 at 11:56 AM
That's true -- and may be related Fredric L. Rice Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2006 at 12:00 PM
spammers to Frederic L. Rice Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2006 at 1:13 PM
Re: Irrelevent Duane J. Roberts Friday, Jan. 20, 2006 at 12:25 PM

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