BELTON — A Killeen City Council candidate who was arrested last year after a verbal confrontation with Killeen’s mayor at a council workshop, said on Friday that she will plead not guilty to a misdemeanor charge related to the incident.
Judge John Mischtian, who presides over County Court-At-Law 2, will be handling the case that was re-set from Friday to May 3.
“I intend on pleading not guilty and I’ll request a jury trial,” Mellisa Brown told the Herald on Friday at the Belton courthouse.
“It’s been postponed to give the assistant district attorney more time to review the case,” she said, after meeting with her attorney, Anthony Smith.
Brown was arrested following a verbal altercation with Mayor Jose Segarra during a workshop session on Aug. 7, 2018, in which Segarra did not allow her to address the council.
Brown, who approached the dais at Councilwoman Shirley Fleming’s request to address the council, was denied a chance to speak after another resident was allowed to make remarks earlier in the discussion, she claimed. She was escorted out after an exchange with the mayor and arrested.
Brown said she refused a plea deal that was offered in December that would have given her six months of deferred adjudication probation for a guilty plea.
During the course of being removed from the building by the sergeant-at-arms, municipal court Judge Mark D. Kimball ordered her arrest, according to video of the incident.
Brown was later charged with the Class B misdemeanor, and posted $2,000 bond.
On Friday, six people, including Fleming, were present to support her at the courthouse.
Another former council candidate who attends council meetings regularly said he has never seen an incident unfold like what happened on Aug. 7.
“I’ve seen people speak after the mayor said to stop and they’ve never been arrested,” said Leo Gukeisen. “She’s vocal on a lot of issues. I think it was wrong for them to do what they did, to try to make an example out of her. I hope the judge will see this and dismiss the charges in fairness of justice.”
Segarra told the Herald in August that he was 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,” he said. “Her intentions are correct, but we sometimes allow emotions to take over.”
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,” he 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.”
According to the Texas Penal Code, Class B misdemeanors are punishable up to 180 days in a county jail and a $2,000 fine.
Brown is running for the city council’s District 2 seat against incumbent Debbie Nash-King and another challenger, Will Baumgartner, in the May 4 municipal election.
The Herald has requested police and the city release Brown’s jail booking mug photo, however, they have refused, citing privacy concerns.