The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court declared a town’s public comment policy unconstitutional and held that a board chairman/attorney did not have qualified immunity when threatening to remove a woman from a public comment session after she criticized him for being “a Hitler” and violating alleged open-meeting laws.

The plaintiff, Louise Barron, decided to attend the board’s December 2018 meeting after the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office rule that the board committed dozens of open-meeting violations the previous month. At the meeting, the board members discussed several topics, including the town budget, which, if approved, would increase real estate taxes for residents, according to the court’s opinion filed March 7.

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