Posted: Thursday, June 14th 2012 at 11:07am
Tisdale files federal suit against Cumming mayor, police
By B.J. Williams Administrator
GAINESVILLE - A Roswell woman who was removed from a Cumming City Council meeting has filed a federal lawsuit against the city's mayor, police chief and deputy police chief.
Nydia Tisdale's suit was filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Gainesville.
Tisdale had promised to sue Cumming Mayor H. Ford Gravitt and others after she was told to stop video recordings of an April 2012 Cumming City Council meeting. She was forcibly removed from the meeting when she told the mayor she had the legal right to record the proceedings under the state's Open Meetings Law.
In addition to Gravitt, the suit specifically names Police Chief Casey Tatum and Deputy Chief Walter Cook as defendants.
The lawsuit comes on the heels of a lawsuit filed against Gravitt last week by Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens.
Tisdale's attorney Gerry Weber said while his client appreciates what Olens is doing, her lawsuit seeks personal damages.
"[First] we're seeking an order from the court ensuring that Ms. Tisdale and other citizens are able to attend the Cumming City Council meetings and to film them," said Weber.
"We're also seeking damages for her for what happened to her on the day that she was physically pulled out of the meeting by the chief of police and deputy chief. And the last thing we're seeking is under the new Open Meetings Law, when it's violated, that there are civil penalties."
In the suit, Tisdale asks for a jury trial to hear the case.
"City council meetings are the public's business," said Weber. "We think it's entirely appropriate for a jury to evaluate the excluding of a citizen, a taxpayer from a public meeting.
Tisdale is a blogger for AboutForsyth.com, and Weber said she was recording the meeting so that citizens who could not attend would have access to the proceedings.
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