CHICO, Calif. - “I was just exercising my right to free speech and that’s what I was hoping to accomplish,” said Mark Herrera.
There were plenty of fireworks at last Tuesday’s Chico City Council meeting.
“My first thought was… what? I haven’t seen him in a long time because he used to speak at the council a lot and he’s in an articulate guy. We don’t always agree on opinions but he’s fun to listen to,” said Sean Morgan, the mayor of Chico.
And with that Mark Herrera, who once ran for Chico City Council, was placed in handcuffs while standing at the podium, Herrera says his rights to free speech were violated.
“I’ve been to a lot of city council meetings and I’ve seen a lot more, I would say a lot more outbursts than what I politely went up and spoke about,” Herrera said.
“People are emailing me and making all these threats and saying these things oh you violated his free speech! Your free speech doesn’t give you the right to come and be uncivil in a public meeting,” Morgan said.
Herrera says even though he was arrested he wouldn’t change what happened, he’s a passionate defender of the homeless. He says he’s hoping to inspire more people to come to the Chico City Council meetings to speak their mind and maybe just maybe find common ground.
And though Herrera and the mayor don’t necessarily see eye to eye on the issue of homelessness, he says he doesn’t have any hard feelings about what happened.
“I have nothing but respect for the mayor while we may not agree on everything, anyone who gets up there as a public official I have so much respect for them because that’s not an easy job,” Herrera said.
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