New Bedford Man Found Guilty After Arrest for Clapping in Meeting
NEW BEDFORD - A New Bedford man who was arrested last year after clapping during a City Council meeting has been found guilty.
In October of 2016, Evangelos "Gilly" Safioleas was warned to refrain from applauding the speeches of city councilors as to not disrupt the meeting. Safioleas ignored the warning from then Council President Linda Morad, which ultimately resulted in his arrest.
Safioleas refused to take a plea deal, and insisted on having his day in court. However, Safioleas says he did not receive the trial he anticipated.
"They lowered the charges from trespassing, criminal, to civil so it can go in front of a judge," said Safioleas. "I wasn't given the option to go in front of a jury."
Safioleas says the reasoning behind the downgraded charge was unfair.
"The (Assistant) DA said that the jury is not smart enough to reach a decision because they don't know the law. Isn't the job of the DA and the job of the judge to direct the jury (as to) how things work?"
During Thursday's trial, the judge found Safioleas guilty of civil trespassing and ordered him to pay a fine of $100.
Councilor Morad was pleased with the outcome.
"The judge made a determination and I'm appreciative that the judge understood the issue and hopefully that's the end of this issue," said Morad. "I just hope that now Gilly understands that there are rules and procedures. You are welcome, but you have to follow the procedures like you do at anybody's house."
Safioleas says he intends to appeal the judge's findings.