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"You all are fascists," yelled 53-year-old Carlsbad resident Richard Shapiro during his three-minutes of public comment to the Carlsbad City Council on September 14. "Because of a word I was removed from this hall. That's fascism. We know it was on your cue [Mayor Bud Lewis] that I was arrested."

It was three weeks prior, during the August 24 meeting, when Shapiro was escorted out of the same room by two uniformed police officers after Mayor Lewis ordered officers to remove him for saying the word "pussy" while commenting on free speech. And while Shapiro was no stranger to the police escort out of council chambers for his vitriolic rants, he was shocked when officers handcuffed him and transported him to a substation behind the Albertson's Market on Carlsbad Village Drive.

"I couldn't stop laughing," Shapiro said during a September 14 phone interview. "They didn't know what offense to charge me with."

An hour later, says Shapiro, officers transported him to the Vista Detention Facility and booked him into jail for violating Penal Code 403, "crimes against the public peace."

Shapiro remained in a cell for 16 hours before he was given an affidavit to appear in court on October 6 and released on his own recognizance.

In the following weeks, he has filed an injunction against the city for violating the Brown Act and plans to file a civil complaint for $100,000.

At the September 14 city council meeting, Shapiro warned councilmembers that the issue is not over. "I already have a complaint in to the civil Grand Jury, a claim against your city...I will take this all the way to a 12-panel and you will be embarrassed, all of you. All because of a word, Bud [Lewis], that is fascism."

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David Dodd Sept. 16, 2010 @ 6:32 p.m.

I love these heart-warming, feel-good stories about progress and community improvement by way of direct citizen participation in the political process of city and local government. Makes me proud to have been born an American.


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