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City Of Chico Settles Lawsuit Over Man’s Arrest During City Council Meeting

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The city of Chico has settled a federal lawsuit filed by a man who was arrested during a City Council meeting in 2018. The city agreed to pay the man, Mark Herrera, $50,000, Herrera’s attorney says.

Herrera alleged his constitutional rights were violated when his public speaking time was cut short by then-mayor Sean Morgan. Morgan cut Herrera’s time after Herrera called the leader of a local community group a, quote, “human paraquat.” Herrera also claimed in his lawsuit that officers lacked probable cause to handcuff and remove him from the council chambers.

A District Court judge closed the case last week. Herrera’s attorney, Peter Washington, says the city is not required to admit wrongdoing as part of the settlement.

“And I certainly respect that,” Washington said. “But I do think that the amount that the city was ultimately willing to pay in this case is a reflection of the strength of Mr. Herrera’s claims.” 

Chico City Attorney Andrew Jared did not respond to a message seeking comment.