A Snellville resident and active city volunteer said her right to free speech was violated by the Snellville mayor.
Resident Marilyn Swinney was trying to speak out in support of the city council on Monday, when Mayor Kelly Krautz cut her off.
"I was kind of surprised by your mayor's report," Swinney started to say on Monday. "You stated that -"
Before she could finish, Krautz interrupted.
"Ms. Swinney, this is not the place to - Ms. Swinney, you're out of order. Ms Swinney you're out of order," Krautz said, then directing a staff member to silence her. "If you could please turn off her microphone until she stops talking."
On Friday, Krautz said that she thought Swinney was going to personally attack her and wanted to put a stop to it before it happened.
"There has been constant public comment where supporters from both sides have gone up and given personal attacks," Krautz said. "I probably cut her off before she said anything, and I'll admit that, and that probably was my fault."
Swinney said she felt mortified by the incident, and as though the mayor didn't want her to give her personal opinion.
"After I thought about it, my civil rights were violated," Swinney said.
But Krautz, who is an attorney, said she didn't feel that Swinney's rights were violated.
"No, because she did have an opportunity to speak," Krautz said. "What I did was to advise her of what the rules and procedures were, and then gave her an opportunity to speak."
Several other council members, including Mayor Pro Tem Tom Witts, said he was in disbelief when the incident happened.
"(Swinney's) out here on saturday morning directing traffic for the farmer's market, she's on the board of appeals, she's on every committee the city's got, I mean, this is somebody that you want involved in your city," Witts said.
Krautz said she will make sure to stop speakers from personally attacking council members at meetings from now on.
Copyright 2012 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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