Father Nathan Monk wasn’t laughing at last night’s City Council
meeting. During the Boyd Forum, an open comment period named in honor of
the late civic activist LeRoy Boyd, Father Monk chided the council
members — and Council President Sam Hall in particular — for their
actions at Monday’s Committee of the Whole meeting.
At that meeting, several citizens had spoken in opposition to the
proposed anti-homeless ordinances, and in doing so made unflattering
comparisons to historical figures (one person mentioned Heinrich
Himmler’s “Final Solution“)
and questioned the Christian charity of any council member who would
support the ordinances. Council members DeWeese and Johnson took offense
at the accusations, and Hall had asked Police Chief Chip Simmons to
remove several speakers he deemed “out of order.”
At last night’s meeting, Monk told the council they had no right to
dictate the content of their speech, and suggested that they instead
examine any actions by the city that would prompt such comparisons.
“As Americans, we have the right to redress our government without
fear of being arrested,” he said. “Whether or not they’re connecting
dots from Hitler to George Wallace to Barney … you should be asking,
‘well what are we doing that’s allowing people to connect those dots?’
It was a sick and gross abuse of power.”
Council President Hall interrupted Monk at that point. “Your time is up, sit down,” he said.
“No, I have a minute and 12 seconds left,” Monk said, looking at the timer at the speaker’s lectern.
“I’m ruling you out of order,” Hall said.
When Monk refused to leave, noting that he had not violated any rules
of conduct, Hall asked Police Chief Simmons and two other uniformed
police officers in attendance to remove him. He refused to budge until
his allotted time was up, after which he was escorted from council
chambers by the officers.
During the standoff, council members Sherri Myers and John Jerralds stood up and left their seats in protest.
“I am leaving this chamber as you are in violation of the people’s
First Amendment right,” Myers said. “I will be outside if you want to
want to address your grievances to your government.”
Returning to her seat later in the meeting, she strongly criticized
the “chilling effect” such censorship can have on the public right to
In: Regional News
Tags: Father, Nathan Monk, threatened, with, arrest, Pensacola, city
Location: Pensacola, Florida, United States (load item map)
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