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April 10, 2009


Jon Nielsen Dallas Morning News - Duncanville City Council member Paul Ford is hospitalized and facing criminal charges after cameras at Tuesday's council meeting captured a chaotic scene. Ford, who is up for re-election in District 3, has often challenged Mayor David Green and City Manager Kent Cagle on various topics, most recently on the use of red light cameras. Council meetings have grown tense over the last several years because of those challenges.

In the past when meetings grew contentious, Green would order a recess. But during Tuesday's briefing session, Green announced new procedures that included the removal of council members who disrupted meetings by not staying on topic. The mayor said he would call on police Chief Robert Brown for help.

"I will not tolerate the actions that have been demonstrated in the past meetings and will not recess a meeting in order to gain control," Green told the audience Tuesday night.

When the city's contract on sealing roadway cracks came up, Ford challenged the mayor.

"Earlier this evening during briefing, Mayor Green threatened me that if he told me to stop talking and I didn't, he'd have me arrested," Ford said.

Cameras that regularly record the city's meetings showed Green asking Ford to stay on topic. When Ford continued, the mayor asked for his removal. Council members left the dais, and the audio was turned off.

But because some city officials anticipated problems, police had an additional officer recording Ford's removal on camera.

"Chief Brown, I will not leave voluntarily," Ford said on the police video, "but if you believe I am violating the law by discussing this agenda item, I will submit to arrest."

Ford warned Brown and another officer that he had a bad back from two surgeries.

"That's almost like it encouraged them to be rougher," Ford said from his hospital bed Wednesday.

As the officers began escorting Ford out, he said, he stumbled on a step and fell. He lay in a hallway for nearly 10 minutes waiting for paramedics to arrive.



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