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GALLUP | The mayor of Gallup has pleaded no contest to public affray for his role in a fistfight with the publisher of the city’s newspaper.
Mayor Harry Mendoza faced misdemeanor assault and battery charges for the scuffle with Gallup Independent publisher Bob Zollinger. But he agreed to enter the plea to the fighting charge before his jury trial started Tuesday.
A magistrate sentenced the mayor to 182 days of conditional discharge, and ordered him to make a $100 donation to Gallup’s crime stoppers program and write a letter of apology to the community.
The dispute centered on articles linking Mr. Mendoza to the gang rape of a teenage girl in 1948 when Mr. Mendoza was 16. The mayor denies the allegations and has filed a defamation lawsuit against Mr. Zollinger.
19 arrested at school board meeting
RALEIGH | Protesters and police scuffled Tuesday at a school board meeting in North Carolina over claims that a new busing system would resegregate schools, roiling racial tensions reminiscent of the 1960s.
Nineteen people were arrested, including the head of state chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, who was banned from the meeting after a trespassing arrest at a June school board gathering.
“We know that our cause is right,” the Rev. William Barber said shortly before police put plastic handcuffs on his wrists before the meeting started.
Inside, more than a dozen demonstrators disrupted the meeting by gathering around a podium, chanting and singing against the board’s policies.
After several minutes, Raleigh police intervened and asked them to leave. When they refused, the officers grabbed arms and tried to arrest the protesters. One child was caught in the pushing and shoving, as was school board member Keith Sutton, who was nearly arrested before authorities realized who he was.
The Wake County School Board has voted multiple times over the past several months to scrap the district’s diversity policy, which distributed students based on socioeconomics and for years had been a model for other districts looking to balance diversity in schools. Several school board members elected last year have built a majority in favor of focusing on neighborhood schools.
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