Civics: Taxpayer supported local censorship

Christina Hall:

Four Eastpointe residents filed a federal lawsuit against the mayor and the city this week saying the mayor is abusing her power and silencing her critics, even cutting them off during public comment at a September meeting that ended abruptly when the other council members got up and left.

Mary Hall-Rayford, Karen Beltz, Karen Mouradjian and Cynthia Federle filed the lawsuit Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Detroit against Mayor Monique Owens and the city. The Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression, a Philadelphia-based nonprofit, filed the lawsuit on their behalf.

“It concerned us in terms of suppression of the First Amendment rights of these four women. They were interested in having their mayor not censor them,” said Conor Fitzpatrick, an attorney with the foundation.