Woman threatened with arrest at Anne Arundel meeting

Arundel council bars woman from hearing

September 05, 2012|By Erin Cox, The Baltimore Sun

A Glen Burnie woman was thrown out of an Anne Arundel County Council meeting Tuesday night after the chairman refused to let her speak for three minutes instead of two.

Karen Delimater insisted she was entitled to three minutes during the meeting's public comment period based on an email she said she received from a county employee.

Chairman Derek Fink disagreed, put the council's regular meeting into recess and cleared the council chambers. Two county police officers barred Delimater from reentering the chambers with the rest of the public and told her she would be arrested if she did not leave the Arundel Center.

"This is an open government meeting," she told the officers.

"And once you've been told to leave, it's trespassing," said Cpl. C.R. Stidham, who declined to give his first name.

Delimater, who along with her brother Joseph Delimater, attends nearly every County Council meeting and speaks on most legislation. She and her brother complained to the officers as they repeatedly told her she needed to leave.

"You can make a point to disagree without getting arrested," Cpl. Steven Ingrassia told them. "It's ridiculous."

Delimater called her attorney before deciding to leave the building and telling the officers she plans to file a lawsuit. Her brother casually offered the officers copies of the Maryland Constitution, which he brings to each council meeting.

After the meeting, Fink said he cleared the chamber because "we had to get decorum back." Fink said the two-minute limit on speakers has a long council tradition and "it's the chairman's prerogative."

ecox@baltsun.com

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