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Local News

May 10, 2014

Ousted Salisbury official suing to get post back

ACLU steps in to sue Salisbury selectmen

SALISBURY — An attorney working with former Salisbury Liquor Licensing Commissioner Gilbert Medeiros is demanding that selectmen reinstate him to the position from which they removed him last summer, claiming their action violated his First Amendment rights.

On Aug. 27, 2013, a majority of the Board of Selectmen voted 3-2 to remove Medeiros from the Liquor Licensing Commission for what they said was his threatening and disrespectful behavior toward them following a decision they’d made in July that prevented a slot machine casino to town. Medeiros’ unwillingness to apologize for his angry behavior also played a role in the selectmen’s actions.

In the May 1 letter sent to Selectman Chairman Henry Richenburg, Boston attorney Nicholas Leitzes wrote that by removing Medeiros from his seat the selectmen violated his First Amendment right to free speech.

“A video recording of the meeting shows that Mr. Medeiros’ statements, while impassioned, were civil,” Leitzes wrote. “He said nothing inappropriate in the context of the meeting, much less that he intended to harm anyone.”

Immediately after the vote at the meeting on July 1, 2013 that defeated Maryland-based Cordish Company request to site a slot parlor in Salisbury, Medeiros rose, and while pointing his finger at the board, loudly and repeatedly called them “disgusting.”

“You’re disgusting,” Medeiros said. “You guys are disgusting. . . . You killed my future and my kids’ future.”

Medeiros, 45, who describes his occupational status as retired from the Essex County Sheriff’s Office, also expressed the desire to unseat the three selectmen who voted against the proposed gambling endeavor, namely selectmen Richenburg, Donald Beaulieu and Freeman Condon.

“I hope we all get together and do something about what you just did,” Medeiros shouted as he left the auditorium. “I’m going to put a petition together to recall you guys.”

The behavior, broadcast on the town’s cable television channel, caused a major stir in town. So much so, that on July 22, 2013, Beaulieu, Condon and Richenburg voted under provisions in Salisbury’s Home Rule Town Charter to notify Medeiros of their intent to remove him from office.

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