City Commission candidate Tim Perry appeared Aug. 1 in Arkansas City Municipal Court in connection with a ticket citing him for misdemeanor disorderly conduct.
The ticket was issued June 13 by the Arkansas City Police Department and lists the 100 block of East Fifth Avenue as the location of the incident.
While the citation was dismissed by the city prosecutor, Tamara Niles, she said it only was because she determined — after reviewing the facts of the case, city ordinances and applicable laws — that she would not be able to prove Perry guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
“Specifically, city ordinance regarding disorderly conduct based on speech requires language to be ‘fighting words,’” Niles explained.
“This is because many forms of speech, even speech that is alarming to an individual, are protected by the First Amendment unless they ‘inflict injury’ or incite ‘an immediate breach of the peace.’ I could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the offending language in this single incident met these factors.”
Cited, not arrested
Perry filed several handwritten documents with the court prior to his Aug. 1 appearance.
In one such document, faxed on June 21 and addressed to “Municipal Court Clerk, Ark City Municipal Court” and “City Attorney,” Perry states:
“I motion for discovery because I don’t know who the complainant or plaintiff is. Eric Mata ACPD said I said see you later and does that mean that I will be stalking her later. Which is nonsense to me. And I was never arrested on this case. The newspaper said I was arrested which the officer or newspaper lied.”
The Cowley CourierTraveler did report Perry had been arrested in connection to the June 13 incident.
The report that stated, “An Arkansas City female was the victim of disorderly conduct. Timothy Perry was arrested in connection,” was printed June 17.
Perry v. Mata
In his other court filings, Perry makes several claims about ACPD Sgt. Eric Mata, the officer who responded to the June 13 incident.
In a document addressed to “City Court Clerk, City Attorney” and “Ark City Municipal Court Judge Iverson,” which was sent by fax on July 21, Perry writes:
- “I seek the original complainant. Police Officer Eric Mata is not the original complainant, and is incompetent to stand trial.”
- “ACPD Police Officer issued me that ticket with malice, intentional infliction on his mind for revenge because of a on-going case I filed against him in 2013-2014. And still on-going.”
- “I want ACPD Officer Eric Mata to produce his oath of office, green card, jurisdiction papers, green card, and video from June 13, 2017 from his camera.”
In a third document, sent via fax July 28, Perry makes further claims, including:
- “Eric Mata has malic (sic) in his heart towards the defendant because of a case the defendant put on him in 2013. He is still trying to inflict emotional stress towards the defendant.”
- “Defendant was never presented with a complaint or affidavit. Defendant took ticket under duress, and coercion.”
- “ACPD Eric Mata issued the citation with malicious intent to cause intentional infliction toward the defendant where as Eric Mata is defendant in a case in 2013 where Mr. Perry is the plaintiff. … ACPD and Eric Mata still continue to harass Mr. Perry.”
Mata, a 17-year veteran of ACPD, was named Law Enforcement Officer of the Year in 2016 by the Optimists of Arkansas City.