Many times, normal people get frustrated and wonder what they could possibly do to fight an out of control government. This could happen at the local, state or national level. [scroll down for video]
Fortunately, at the local level, this is often entirely possible. Two military veterans in Illinois several years ago placed an entire county board under citizen’s arrest after they violated a state law. The board basically laughed it off and told the pair to sit down and shut up.
They weren’t very amused when the local sheriff showed up though.
The The Ocala Post reports:
In what was one of their most epic displays of political crime-fighting, which was captured on video, Kirk Allen and John Kraft held the entire Clark County Park District Board under citizen’s arrest on May 13, 2014, for violating the Illinois Open Meetings Act, a Class C misdemeanor.
When asked if there would be public comment on the vote, a board member said, “I vote no.” That sentiment was quickly echoed by five other board members despite state law requiring public comment.
Kate Yargus, the board attorney, can then be heard on video saying there would be no public comment and that board members were “free to go” even after Kraft’s citizen’s arrest announcement. She tried to cite statute to the veterans but, before she could finish, he said, “Just sit down, you are making yourself look like a fool.”
When the sheriff showed up he did in fact arrest 6 out of the 7 board members. One of the board members had voted against the other 6 and was not arrested.
“It’s not that they should have. They’re mandated to,” Clark County Sheriff Jerry Parsley said. “The people need to have their voice. It’s not a dictatorship. It’s a democracy.”
I’m just gonna go ahead and say it – SO. MUCH. WIN.
“You have 30 people, they just sat outside executive session for more than two hours, and you’re not gonna allow them to talk? What a slap in the face,” Jeff Wallace, the one board member who voted for public comment and not arrested, said.
Wallace took things further, saying taxpayers should not be forced to pay for the boards legal fees.
“Personally, I think our attorney should pay for this. She is legal counsel, and she should know you have to allow public comment.”
Accoridng to NBC Chicago:
A citizen’s arrest may be rare, but Open Meetings Act violations are a widespread problem in Illinois. The Illinois attorney general’s office says it fielded nearly 400 complaints in 2013. Many of those ended in re-training of public officials in violation, a spokeswoman said.
In fact, the spokeswoman said that in the Clark County Park District Board’s case, all seven board members were up to date on required Open Meetings Act training provided through the attorney general’s office.
Here is the full video of the council meeting.