A heated exchange during an Atwater City Council meeting ended Monday with one man behind bars for allegedly disturbing the public assembly, according to police.
Richard Johnson, 48, of Atwater was speaking during the public comment section of the meeting when he used foul language, saying he has been mistreated by city leaders. "Damn you guys for not doing your damn jobs," he said while speaking to the council.
"This is bulls--t," he continued.
Johnson did not make clear during the meeting exactly what his concerns were. Efforts to reach him by telephone Tuesday were unsuccessful.
That's when Mayor Jim Price told Johnson he must leave the meeting before asking Police Chief Samuel Joseph to intervene. "I suggest you leave Richard or else you're going to be going to jail," Joseph said.
Johnson said "I'll go to jail, I guess" before his wife attempted to get him to leave, the video shows. "I said nothing wrong," he said.
The mayor then called a recess for the meeting. Joseph said police arrested Johnson outside of the chambers. He was cited and released, according to jail records.
Johnson routinely speaks during the public comment section of the meeting, Joseph said.
After the meeting returned, Price noted that the public meeting is broadcast on TV and can be seen online.
"I'm going to insist there be a certain decorum, if you will," Price said. "When there's cussing, anything like that going on, personal attacks, that type of thing -- I'm going to intervene as I did tonight."