Image: Sheriff’s Sergeant Billy Jordan led conservative Republican Precinct Chairman Reagan Reed out of the Commissioners Courtroom after County Judge Craig Doyal directed that Jordan arrest Reed and remove him from the meeting.
Conroe, April 25 – Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal directed Sheriff’s Office Sergeant Billy Jordan to throw private citizen Reagan Reed out of the April 24, 2018, meeting of the Montgomery County Commissioners Court in order to prevent Reed from speaking against the $95 million, 3 mile, TX 249 Tollway, also known as the Decimation of Hope Highway.
During April 24, 2018, citizen comments on the shameful $95 million Tollway that Doyal and Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley are shoving down the citizens’ throats, renowned conservative Republican Precinct Chairman Reagan Reed, who is also the Houston correspondent for Empower Texans, rose to make a comment and approached the podium. Doyal angrily pointed at Reed and said, “Have a seat please! You’re not signed up to speak!”
Reed said, “I got here more than 5 minutes early. Your clerk told me I would be allowed to speak.”
In the past, Doyal has allowed citizens to speak even if they didn’t sign up to speak at all. In the past two meetings, however, without any written rules or approval from the Commissioners Court, Doyal has created his own rules that citizens must sign up to speak to the Commissioners Court at least by 9:20 a.m. Doyal’s secretary, Sylvia Olszowy, confirmed on video that “we make up the rules however we feel” in a conversation with Republican Precinct Chair Ginger Russell videotaped early Tuesday morning.
Doyal repeated, “If you don’t have a seat, you’ll be removed.” Reed answered, “If you want that to be in the press, come on.”
Precinct 3 County Commissioner James Noack interrupted and said, “You’re breaking your own protocol. You have done this time and time again.”
Doyal hissed, “No, I’m not” similar to the manner in which a 3-year-old might protect a toy he just grabbed from another child on the playground.
Noack responded, “You have let people who have not signed up come and speak. Come on, Judge. The people want to have a voice. Give them one.” The audience overwhelmingly chimed in that Doyal should have allowed Reed, a highly-respected leader of the Republican Party, to speak.
Sheriff’s Sergeant Billy Jordan then pulled Reed out of the Commissioners’ meeting room, arrested Reed, and required Reed to stand outside of the meeting during the entire remainder of the Commissioners Court for almost two hours.
Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley laughed while Jordan arrested Reed.
Doyal then made clear that his real intent was to prevent Reed from speaking against the Tollway: “He said the same thing every time he has come. We know what he is going to say.”
Doyal’s action clearly was a prior restraint of political Free Speech which violated Reed’s rights under both the United States Constitution and the Texas Constitution. By ordering Jordan to participate in the illegal and wrongful arrest and prevention of Reed’s political speech, Doyal and Jordan violated 42 U.S.C. Section 1983, which prohibits state officials from violating the federal Constitutional rights of individuals under the color of state law.
Jordan should have politely reminded Doyal of the fact that Doyal violated the law himself and sat down rather than participating in the illegal arrest and removal of a Republican leader exercising his right to express himself politically.
Sheriff Rand Henderson, who was in the Courtroom during the entire incident, agrees that “there are no clear rules about citizen comments.” Henderson added, however, “Sergeant Jordan handled the situation well under the circumstances. Both he and I appreciated the kind manner in which Mr. Reed reacted to us and Mr. Reed’s later compliment about our professionalism.”
Reed later complimented Sergeant Jordan for his “professionalism” after Doyal, the lame duck power-crazed outgoing County Judge, deigned to allow Reed back into the meeting after two hours.
It’s unclear what law or rule Reed supposedly violated. Doyal has regularly permitted citizens, especially those who are complimentary of him or of his cherished Tollway, to speak without signing up in his highly-guarded County Judge’s Office. Doyal has now established a new “rule” that citizens must sign up to speak during the Commissioners Court meeting by 9:20 a.m.
Doyal regularly allows his political allies to interrupt Commissioners Court meeting, make catcalls from the back of the room, shout, block others from speaking, and use profanities.
Doyal’s behavior was childish and sickening. Sheriff Henderson has confirmed that the Sheriff’s Office will make a written report about the incident. Hopefully, the report will include the fact that the County Judge violated federal civil rights laws as well as the Texas Constitution.
Addition to story: Olszowy, one of the meanest and rudest government employees one might ever meet, admitted in a Facebook post that she makes decisions based upon “whims.” Such whimsical behavior to repress Free Speech is precisely the reason that Congress enacted 42 U.S.C. Section 1983.