Madness in Mercedes: Several arrested at city council meeting

Local News
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Attendee being escorted from the city council meeting in Mercedes on Tuesday night. (Source: KGBT Photo)

Madness in Mercedes is what residents are calling Tuesday’s city council meeting. 

Chaos erupted before the meeting even started at 6 p.m. on Tuesday. 

All three doors were locked, then blocked by Mercedes Police, to stop people from coming inside after the Fire Marshal said too many people were inside screaming and yelling, even our reporter, CBS 4’s Sydney Hernandez, was not let inside the building for several minutes. 

The arrests started after residents were screaming at city council members inside of the commission chambers before the meeting started. 

Not only did residents walk out, but so did City Commissioner Joe Gomez. 

“This is not right, because we can not withhold people from attending a public hearing,” said Joe Gomez, Mercedes City Commissioner, Place Four. 

Gomez said he walked out and didn’t go back inside the meeting, because he didn’t want to participate in what he says is illegal activity of kicking people out from a public place. 

“Chaos broke out- that was uncalled and if you notice the people that were arrested, it’s the same group that has been vocal, very vocal and only they were arrested,” said Gomez. 

One of those who was kicked out was Sandra Galan, who has lived in Mercedes for 43 years. 

“That was really messed up of them. They need to let the city hear what’s going on, they’re here because of us,” said Galan. 

Galan says so many people showed up to hear the decision on Leonel Benavidez, a city commissioner who was scheduled to be possibly removed from office at Tuesday’s meeting after city council members said Benavidez mistreated a city employee. 

Benavidez served the city council with a temporary restraining order right before the meeting, forcing them to not take any action at the time. 

“He’s doing a great job helping the City of Mercedes, ever since he got here,” said Galan.

She believes that’s why so many people showed up and that’s when the chaos started. 

As the meeting went on, public comment was interrupted multiple times over people getting arrested as they walked out of the meeting. 

Several who spoke up said this isn’t the first time. 

“The city’s police department continued to physically threaten community members attending community meetings.” said one Mercedes resident at public comment. 

As for community members, they say won’t stop standing up for their city because they want change. 

“These people aren’t doing anything for Mercedes, the streets are broken, there’s no stores, we only have an HEB and a Bealls,” said Galan. 

Residents have started a petition to get rid of several commissioners on the council. 

Community members tells CBS 4 they plan to deliver it to the City Secretary very soon. 

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