A Grantville resident could have been imprisoned for a long time for “filing too many Georgia open records act requests…” And for “what he sees as corruption at city hall on his website.”
The city council tried to use a Georgia law, HB 838, for people who injure or even kill a police officer. It’s a serious crime with serious prison time.
A Georgia city council tried to have a city resident arrested and charged with a felony for filing too many open records requests. They also didn’t like the fact that he was critical of city officials. The city council tried to use a Georgia law for people who injure or kill a police officer.
Most people would see that as a blatant abuse of power.
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Grantville city councilman Jim Sells called Channel 2 Consumer Investigator Justin Gray “a bully” for asking questions and slammed a door in his face.
Resident Robert Royce, who filed the open records requests, said the council members are the bullies. They want to put him in prison.
“I’m afraid for myself. I’m afraid for my wife, she’s terrified. They want to throw me in prison,” Royce said.
His crime was to file Georgia open records act requests – 75 to be exact – to obtain city documents and correspondence. It’s not illegal, and Mr. Royce admits he’s a pain in the butt.
Criminalizing Free Speech with Serious Jail Time
According to Channel 2, the night the council voted on the measure, councilman Alan Wacaser said this: “This should be designated criminal charges. Somebody’s got to stand up and have the guts to do something about something like this.”
“What we have is a city that’s gone way too far in an attempt to punish and indeed criminalize normal free speech,” Royce’s attorney Luke Andrews said.
Two months after they voted for criminal charges because a resident is a pain in the butt, the DA said there is insufficient evidence to prosecute for criminal charges.
Lighten up, council members! You’re fascists.