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State probes OC council after critic silenced

ABC7 Eyewitness News HD covering Los Angeles and Southern California.

August 15, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
The California Attorney General's office is investigating whether the Santa Ana City Council violated state law by refusing to listen to a man criticizing the council.At a meeting in early August, the council voted unanimously to turn off the microphone while Albert Castillo was talking. Castillo was criticizing Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido.

Castillo is a frequent critic of the council.

Councilwoman Claudia Alvarez said Castillo went beyond criticism and into personal attacks.

"I am not stopping you from freedom of speech," Alvarez said before the vote. "I'm stopping you from personal attacks."

The attorney general's office told The Orange County Register that it's investigating whether the incident violated open meeting laws.

Santa Ana's city code states that people can be kicked out of council meetings if they disrupt "order and decorum." Citizens who speak are warned they should address the council as a whole and not make "libelous or slanderous comments."

AP contributed to this report.