A public presentation on Newton's proposed tax increase turned briefly tense Sunday, when an audience member’s repeated outbursts led to his arrest on charges of disturbing the peace.
Newton police arrested Adam Quentin Maleson, 53, at the Hawthorn Playground Gymnasium during a presentation on the proposed Proposition 2 ½ override by city officials, according Lieutenant Bruce Apotheker. Maleson was released on bail Sunday and arraigned Monday in Newton District Court, officials said.
Maleson could not immediately be reached for comment.
Newton Mayor Setti Warren, along with leaders of the police, fire and school departments, are meeting with residents around the city to inform and encourage them to vote in favor of the override.
Maleson first interrupted Warren as the mayor was making his opening comments to the audience of more than 30 people in the gym. From his seat in the back row, Maleson questioned why increased school enrollment - which officials have said indicates that families are moving to Newton but also spurring a need for more money to provide additional school space - was a positive sign.
A little later, when Maureen Lemieux, the city’s chief financial officer, told residents that the city had taken steps to save money before recommending the tax increase, Maleson interrupted her.
Interim Police Chief Howard Mintz approached Maleson and asked him to step outside to talk to him. Maleson, however, continued shouting. He told Lemieux that the city needed to arrest people who talk on their cellphones while driving and the dangers they posed. He also questioned the need for an override, before charging to the front, pushing aside a chair that was in his way.
Police officers, who had been called to the gymnasium after Maleson’s early interruption, took hold of him and escorted him outside. Maleson continued to shout about the unfairness of the situation.
After the meeting, which lasted for another hour and a half, Mintz said police officials try to be sensitive and not arrest residents who are simply exercising their right to free speech.
Security has been a sensitive issue around the mayor in recent months. Warren continues to receive additional security after police said in December that they had grown concerned about his personal safety. Police have said that Warren hasn’t received a specific threat, but they declined to comment on the specific situation that has warranted an officer accompanying the mayor to public events.
According to city officials, the mayor’s additional security was unrelated to the Maleson incident.
Deirdre Fernandes can be reached at email@example.com