Lafayette mother removed from library board meeting, sparking backlash

LAFAYETTE, La. (KPEL News) — Tensions ran high again at a library board meeting in Lafayette after a local mother who criticized the board was coerced into leaving by Lafayette Community Sheriff’s Deputies.

The woman, identified on social media as Melanie Brevis, spoke out strongly against the library management, accusing them of “hateful and detrimental acts”.

After her opening remarks, CEO Robert Judge said she was “out of order,” but she waved her hand and carried on.

“We know everything we need to know,” she continued. “We know that a certain trio of ward councilors have a clear type when it comes to selecting governing body members, and that type is a simple checklist: conservative, Christian, willing to accept the false narrative that there is a leftist takeover and that children are at risk, willing to separate certain materials solely on the basis of personal beliefs.”

She then referred to board member Stephanie Armbruster for previously protesting a drag queen story lesson outside the library. At that point, the judge called her “out of order” again, and later a third time when referring to him. At this point, she was approached by two sheriff’s deputies and eventually escorted out of the room.

Credit: Lessie LeBlanc/Twitter

Credit: Lessie LeBlanc/Twitter

There were loud complaints from the crowd and subsequent backlash on social media. A post on Reddit accused the judge of trying to intimidate speakers.

Apparently Robert Judge didn’t like it when a member of the public reminded him that he tried to fire a librarian for no reason and asked 3 (!) deputies to escort the speaker out of the session before her 3- minute talk time had expired.

When the Speaker and members of the public asked what law she broke to violate her rights under the open assembly laws, MPs only replied that they were only following instructions from Robert Judge.

So now we are with Robert Judge making the library pay for 3 MPs to intimidate the public and LEOs have no responsibility to know citizens’ rights at public meetings.

So I guess if you go to these things bring your own attorney or I guess you can hire a MP to arrest Robert Judge if he pisses you off as LEOs are not expected to know the laws on public gatherings.

Many commentators were also outraged, pointing out that this could end up being a First Amendment issue.

Photo credit: Reddit

Photo credit: Reddit

The Library Committee was a center of controversy in 2022, with clashes between activists and the board led by Judge. An activist was arrested at a meeting last year and there has been much opposition to what some have claimed is a book ban.

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