Chestertown Town Council Meeting

Kevin Walsh, who was ejected from the March 7 council meeting after protesting an ordinance to ban plastic bags, has been ordered not to enter town hall. Police chief Robert Edler sent Walsh a restraining order on March 17 by registered mail informing him that “due to recent events,” Walsh is “no longer permitted to enter upon the property at 118 South Cross Street,” the address of town hall. The letter went on to state that defying the restriction “may result in your arrest.”

At the March 7 meeting Walsh rose to speak against the proposed plastic bag ban being introduced. He told the council that he had spoken to numerous merchants and corporations, all of whom opposed the ban. He also said that the ordinance would cost jobs and hurt small businesses. His voice grew louder, and he said that Mayor Margo Bailey and developer Roy Kirby Jr. “have not brought a single job to town.”

Bailey, who has repeatedly told Walsh not to make allegations against individuals, then asked him to stop. When he persisted, police Sgt. John Dolgos escorted Walsh from the council chamber. Walsh said that he had been taken to the police station, then to the hospital. He showed documents stating that he was charged with disorderly conduct and failure to obey a reasonable and lawful police order. He said that Councilwoman Mabel Mumford-Pautz, who protested his removal from the meeting, had helped secure his release. Walsh said he has collected more than 100 signatures on a petition, but the order prevents him from delivering it or addressing the council. He said he contacted the ACLU about the alleged infringement of his rights. He also said he plans to file suit against the town, the mayor, and Town Manager Bill Ingersoll.

Edler said on Friday morning that the letter was in response to events subsequent to the disturbance at town hall, but declined to go into detail. He said that merchants who wish to prevent a particular member of the public from entering their property will often request a police order to that effect. Ingersoll said that Walsh had been involved in additional incidents that led to the police order. He declined to go into detail.