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City Attorney talks about banning citizens from City Hall

January 17, 2013

UPDATE (Thursday, 3:05 pm):  We just spoke to Jim Harrington with the Texas Civil Rights Project, who last year challenged the City of Austin’s practice of banning Occupy protesters from City Hall (and won). Harrington now says the TCRP plans to file a lawsuit against the City of San Antonio in federal court on Cuellar’s  behalf to  get his ban lifted. Having met with Cuellar to hear his case earlier this week, Harrington remarked, “I think it’s even more puzzling and unexplainable what the city’s doing. This absolute ban they have on him without reason, indefinite and without appeal, it’s just amazing.”

Kudos to TPR for pressing City Attorney Michael Bernard this week on the rather shady banning of two disgruntled ex-employees from City Hall and Municipal Plaza.

TPR last week ran lengthy interviews news director David Martin Davies conducted with John Foddrill and Michael Cuellar, recipients of sweeping criminal trespass warnings that ban them from the halls of local government. Bernard wouldn’t talk to Davies for last week’s story, but after the program ran he decided to comment this week.

We reached out repeatedly to the City Attorney’s office last month before writing about the bans (see “Trollin’ ain’t easy”), but Bernard refused to comment. His remarks to Davies this week still don’t really address the serious questions raised by Foddrill and Cuellar: namely, how did the city decide both are dangerous enough to ban, why is there no process to appeal or petition the ban, and how long will the bans last? (Language in the no-trespass warnings each received essentially make the bans indefinite).

Foddrill in his home last month

Bernard says the city issues the ban if police find that someone is a legitimate, violent threat. That explanation doesn’t seem to hold water when you consider Foddrill’s case in particular. Most at City Hall, and even some in the press, would call him irritating, frequently emailing his lengthy, sometimes venomous, screeds far and wide alleging widespread public corruption. But, as we explained in our piece last month, police records from the summer of 2011 indicate Foddrill never had a threat assessment from the department before his ban in 2009. When SAPD sent a mental health detail out to his home on July 4, 2011 at 10 p.m. to conduct one, officers concluded they were “unable to find a mental health issue involved, no crisis, and no signs of danger to self or others.”

Listen to TPR’s full interview with Foddrill and Cuellar here, and go here to listen to Bernard’s response. – Michael Barajas

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  • Chieftac2

    Government oversteps it’s bounds again, why because they were annoyed…….

  • http://www.facebook.com/Jefsr John Foddrill Sr

    City Attorney Michael Bernard and Police Chief William McManus issued the illegal, unconstitutional bans in an effort to keep decades of public/police corruption and the theft and misuse of tens of millions of public / grant dollars secret.

    The first ban was issued on July 1, 2009 within days of documentation proving the criminal activity being delivered to City Hall. The documentation was confiscated and City persons were sworn to secrecy.

    The second ban was issued on August 31, 2012 within days of open records requests being filed seeking information concerning the more recent misuse of public funds.

  • Bean

    Well maybe its because the ex employees are effin creepers. Funny how all ex employees aren’t banned just a few creeps that wont move on…

  • Kayo

    I thank God for men like you, John!

  • http://www.facebook.com/Jefsr John Foddrill Sr

    Thank you for your kind words.

    When as the City’s new Telecommunications Manager I discovered that the E911 system was failing 25 % of the time and the funding I needed to repair the faltering equiptment had been stolen and misued over the years I had no choice but to expose the criminal activity.

    I continue in my efforts to expose the fraud/theft, hold the crooks accountable and recover OUR money.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Jefsr John Foddrill Sr

    The Texas Civil Rights Project of Austin TX. is filing a civil rights lawsuit challenging the illegal, unconstitutional ban. A second lawsuit – SA13CV0051XR- has been filed naming defendants (Mayor Castro, CM Sculley, City Attorney Bernard, Council members (past and present), Chief McManus, etc) in their official AND individual capacities for Constitutional violations including but not limited to the act of banning a law –abiding citizen from City Hall/Council meetings for reporting long-term, widespread public /police corruption and the theft/misuse of tens of millions of tax/grant dollars.

    http://tpr.org/post/banned-city-hall

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003998430654 Johnny Swift

    You two guys are a couple of pussys for not challenging this ban by making them arrest you. All this civil rights lawsuit nonsense is just your way of showing what punks you two clowns are. Y’all have been screwing around with this ban for years!

    The way you get an immediate challenge is to go standing at City Hall and make the pigs come and arrest you. You bond out and you get your day in court ASAP. But you two ladies are too scared and you’d rather sit in your mommy’s basement and rant about the injustice of it all.
    QQ little punks. Time to put your big girl panties on and man up. Foddrill I am calling you out as the coward you are!!! If I do see you standing outside City Hall getting arrested by this Monday then everyone will know what a fraud and little cry baby you are.
    For the past four years you have acted like a pussy.
    Go big or go home and stfu.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003998430654 Johnny Swift

    You two guys are a couple of pussys for not challenging this ban by making them arrest you. All this civil rights lawsuit nonsense is just your way of showing what punks you two clowns are. Y’all have been screwing around with this ban for years!

    The way you get an immediate challenge is to go standing at City Hall and make the pigs come and arrest you. You bond out and you get your day in court ASAP. But you two ladies are too scared and you’d rather sit in your mommy’s basement and rant about the injustice of it all.
    QQ little punks. Time to put your big girl panties on and man up. Foddrill I am calling you out as the coward you are!!! If I do see you standing outside City Hall getting arrested by this Monday then everyone will know what a fraud and little cry baby you are.
    For the past four years you have acted like a pussy.
    Go big or go home and stfu.!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003998430654 Johnny Swift

    You’re a pussy. STFU u little girl. Be a man and get arrested for this stupid ban. Make them prove their case in court.