Safioleas Once Again Leaves City Council Chamber in Handcuffs
NEW BEDFORD — Once again, Evangelos "Gilly" Safioleas left the chamber of the New Bedford City Council in handcuffs.
The New Bedford man was previously arrested in October 2016 after ignorning a warning from Council President Linda Morad to refrain from applauding the speeches of city councillors, so as not to disrupt the meeting.
He did so again Thursday night, and was immediately removed from the council chamber.
Safioleas sat quietly in the council chamber for much of the meeting, but holding a sign of protest that has been his signature since his arrest a year and a half ago, which reads "Linda Morad is a Tyrant."
The discussion on the agenda Thursday night centered around approving the lone bidder, W/S Golf Management, as the new operator of the city-owned Whaling City Golf Course. Some councillors took issue with the length of the 10-year deal, and that it requires W/S to pay the city just $20,000 annually.
Toward the end of the discussion on the golf course contract, Ward 2 Councillor Maria Giesta was expressing her displeasure with the terms of the deal, but then stated she was happy at least the issue was moving along, and the golfers could back on the course.
At that, Safioleas let out 10 loud claps, and Morad called a brief recess to have the police officer stationed in the council chamber address it.
The officer approached Safioleas, and placed him in handcuffs, despite Safioleas' protests.
"It's a public building. This is an open meeting," Safioleas said. "You can't do this, you know that. This is a public building."
As the officer began escorting the handcuffed Safioleas out of the chamber, he took a parting shot at the councillors.
"They act like fools and idiots. They clapped last week," he said, before directing his ire at Morad. "She doesn't have no respect."
After the meeting, Morad said she couldn't just let Safioleas' blatant disruption go unaddressed.
“He’s been harassing people and bullying people for a long time," Morad told WBM News. "Gilly should grow up and conduct himself as an adult in a public forum."
"I addressed the issue tonight, as I’ve been advised by a judge when we went to court a few months ago, and I addressed the chamber," Morad said. "There were about 40 to 50 other people in this chamber who all acted appropriately and respected the wish of the Chair. That’s all I can say about that.”
Safioleas was spotted by a WBSM reporter standing outside City Hall after the meeting ended about a half hour later, so it is unknown if he was actually arrested and booked.
Safioleas was found guilty for his October 2016 arrest, which had been downgraded from criminal trespassing to civil trespassing, despite his desire to have it remain criminal so he could receive a jury trial. Instead, the judge ordered him to pay a fine of $100.