Texas county lifts ban on public comment

December 31, 2010 12:03:31 PM PST
Officials in an East Texas county have lifted a three-month-old ban on public comment that led to a protest in which some residents covered their mouths with duct tape. The Upshur County Commissioners Court voted 3-2 Thursday to overturn their September decision to stop hearing public comment. At least five people with tape on their mouths removed it after the vote was taken, according to the Tyler Morning Telegraph.

The vote came a day after a grand jury indicted sheriff Anthony Betterton and two members of the commissioners court on misdemeanor charges of official oppression, the newspaper reported. The charges stemmed from the removal of a man from a meeting last month after he placed duct tape over his mouth.

Betterton declined comment to the newspaper.