Earnest Nash, the mayor of Gould, Arkansas, was attacked and brutally pistol-whipped Thursday, apparently over his opposition to a city ordinance banning the right of Gould residents to discuss city business.
According to KTHV of Little Rock, Mayor Nash was able to “identify the people who did it as members of two members of the council’s family.”
Fox16 reports that the Mayor and his family have been harrassed ever since the new city council took office in January.
In mid-July, the city passed an ordinance barring residents from discussing city business without the council’s permission.
Nash opposed the ordinance, and has come under fire for doing so.
“This is America and even though this is Gould, Arkansas, this is still part of America. And in America, you can’t just vote and violate peoples constitutional rights,” he said at the time.
The Gould Citizens Advisory Council filed a lawsuit against two of the council members, claiming they were not legally eligible to serve.
According to the lawsuit, Council member Harry Hall is ineligible to serve due to a criminal record in Jefferson County, and Councilwoman Rosieanna Smith is not a resident of the district she represents.
Fox 16 reports:
Later that day Mayor Nash was attacked. Nash tells FOX16 that the attack was perpetrated by a Gould citizen who supports council members who Nash frequently clashes with. Nash had to go the hospital in Dumas to be treated for his injuries.
Council member Harry Hall – one of the defendants in the suit, said that while he was present, he was not involved in the attack.
According to Fox:
Hall says he saw the mayor talking with council members Sonya Farley and Rosieanna Smith in a silver car when a citizen joined in on the heated discussion. Hall says Nash and the man began yelling at one another, and then things got “physical.”
“I’m not leaving, I’m not going anywhere, I’m going to stay the mayor whether they like it or not. They’re not going to run me off,” Nash told Fox, still wearing a blood-soaked Razorbacks T-shirt with stitches in his right temple.
But the confrontation was not over. Katherine Johnson reported:
During the interview, Councilwoman Sonya Farley drove up and confronted Nash. During the argument, Farley had to be restrained and taken away from Nash. As Farley was being taken away, Nash said the car she drove up in was also present during his attack.
Farley was one of the council members pushing the unconstitutional ordinance:
Sonja Farley, a member of the Gould City Council, said that no matter the group, if anyone meets to discuss the city, that meeting must be approved by the city.
“You can’t just come in here, get with four people and decide to start an organization,” Farley said, adding, “You will go through your city council with legal documentation and get approval.”
Bill Kopsky of the Arkansas Public Policy Council wrote in an email:
We stand with the residents of Gould and the members of the Gould Citizens Advisory Council in condemning this violence and calling for unity in Gould to build a stronger community. We know that the VAST majority of Gould residents are deeply committed to their community and a fair, peaceful democratic process — this violence is the action of a few deranged individuals. It’s a tragedy that this incident casts a negative light on Gould and it should be said plainly that this type of crazy violence does not represent the city or its residents. We call for a full investigation by state police and a full prosecution of guilty parties.
It goes without saying that citizens standing up for their rights should not be subject to unconstitutional city ordinances, election dirty tricks and violence.
The Panel is proud of the residents of Gould for standing together against the public abuse and neglect the city has suffered – and we know that they will lead their city, united, to a far better future.
Given the recent attacks and the blatant disregard for the U.S. and Arkansas state Constitution shown by the current city council, the only way the town of roughly 850 people will have a better future is to remove the city council and start from scratch.
Hopefully, they can elect people who have actually heard of the Bill of Rights, and understand the concept of “free speech,” and “freedom of assembly.”
The Arkansas State Police is handling the investigation, and Nash says he intends to file charges against all involved. No arrests have been made as of this writing.
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