A former Killeen City Council candidate was arrested Tuesday after attempting to address council members during a workshop discussion on city sewer lines.

According to an affidavit for arrest, Brown, who ran for an at-large council seat in May, was charged with disruption of a meeting or procession, a Class B misdemeanor. Brown's husband, James Brown, said she was assigned $2,000 bail.

According to police spokeswoman Ofelia Miramontez, Brown was booked into the Killeen City Jail Tuesday night and was released Wednesday morning.

In a Facebook post Wednesday, Brown said jail staff denied her medication that had been dropped off during her arrest.

“I am out of the Killeen jail and showered so I am feeling much better,” Brown said. “I’m a little bruised and feeling kind of shaky because my meds weren’t administered last night even though they were dropped off. Otherwise, I’m doing well."

The Herald asked police about the medication. Miramontez said the Herald would be required to file a public information request.

What happened?

The council was in the middle of a discussion on city sewer lines when Councilwoman Shirley Fleming asked Brown, who was recording the workshop from the audience, to take the dais to ask questions of council members.

“They were toward the end of the workshop and ...  Fleming acknowledged her and asked if she had something to say,” James Brown said.

The council has a policy for conducting meetings called Governing Standards and Procedures which are heavily derived from Roberts' Rules of Order.

Unlike council meetings, where residents are given three minutes to address the council during public hearing items, workshops have no formal public hearings, and residents are only allowed to address the council if members reach a consensus to give three minutes to the speaker.

When Brown approached the dais, Mayor Jose Segarra, the council's presiding officer, told Brown the item was not a public hearing. Brown then loudly said the council had previously allowed another resident to speak.

About 15 minutes before the outburst, Fleming called another resident, Lee Huggins, to take the podium before Segarra and Mayor Pro Tem Jim Kilpatrick told Fleming she was out of line and not following proper protocol. However, the council moved to allow Huggins to speak on the item.

In Brown's case, the council did not have an opportunity to allow her to speak before Segarra asked for her to be removed by a sergeant-at-arms, who is present at every meeting and workshop.

As she was escorted away from the dais, according to her video recording, Brown was asked to gather her belongings and leave, but Brown loudly said she was being denied the right to speak and was non-compliant with the officer's request.

At that point, Killeen municipal court judge Mark D. Kimball ordered Brown placed under arrest for disrupting a public meeting. The sergeant-at-arms appeared to place Brown in handcuffs and escort her from the building.

Kimball couldn't be reached for comment Wednesday.

“It was 2 minutes between the mayor saying it’s not an open forum and her being taken out of the building in handcuffs,” Brown's husband said.

Mayor’s perspective

Segarra said he was only trying to enforce protocol by asking for Brown to be escorted out.

“She is passionate about what she’s doing and I think she has the best of intentions,” Segarra said. “Her intentions are correct, but we sometimes allow emotions to take over.”

Brown has been a weekly staple at council workshops and meetings and frequently records the meeting on Facebook Live. Brown unsuccessfully ran for an at-large seat.

After the election, in which Brown place fourth for three seats, Brown began frequently addressing the council during formal public hearings and starting a Facebook page of her opinions called "Mellisa Brown for the Killeen Community."

Segarra said Brown's passion for the issues was noble but misplaced.

“Everybody has the right to express themselves, and we’ll never take that away, but people have to be aware of the protocol to follow or we’ll have chaos,” Segarra said. “Just because you have the right doesn’t mean you can do it anytime you feel like it. There is a procedure and city leaders have to follow procedures, also.”

Explaining the different outcome between Brown and Huggins taking the dais, Segarra said he did not want Huggins to speak either but was overruled by the council.

“The council can allow someone to speak if they have a consensus, so he was allowed to speak,” he said. “He went through the correct protocol but (Brown) never let it get to the point of allowing the council to vote.”

In a Facebook post Wednesday, Brown said jail staff denied her medication that had been dropped off during her arrest.

“I am out of the Killeen jail and showered so I am feeling much better,” Brown said. “I’m a little bruised and feeling kind of shaky because my meds weren’t administered last night even though they were dropped off. Otherwise, I’m doing well.”

Emily Hilley-Sierzchula is reporter for the Killeen Daily Herald. Reach her at emilys@kdhnews.com

Herald reporter

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.