By Tim Binnall
A city council meeting in New York took a strange turn this week when a resident who happens to be a Flat Earth enthusiast attempted to present his research into the controversial conspiracy theory and ultimately wound up being arrested when he wouldn't stop disrupting the gathering. The bizarre incident, which was captured on film by the man himself and can be seen above, reportedly occurred on Monday evening in the community of Watertown when, during an assembly of the city council, the floor was turned over to citizens who wished to share their concerns about local issues. Into the proverbial breach stepped Donnie Lee Barrigar with some thoughts about the Flat Earth theory and, shortly thereafter, chaos ensued.
Apparently something of a regular attendee at city council meetings, the conspiracy theorist indicated to the panel that he wished to tell them about a NASA document which, he believes, proves that the Earth is flat. Before Barrigar could even begin reading the material, Watertown Mayor Jeffrey M. Smith interrupted him to explain in an exasperated fashion that the discussion period was meant for residents to talk about "city business only" and, since the city of Watertown is in no way affiliated with NASA, his presentation was not allowed at the meeting. However, the Flat Earther was undeterred and immediately launched into reading the document aloud anyway.
As Barrigar tried to explain how this material allegedly reveals the truth about the Flat Earth, Smith repeatedly attempted to get him to stop talking by slamming his gavel and finally called for a recess so that the city council could figure out what to do next. Shortly thereafter, a police officer informed the conspiracy theorist that he could stay at the meeting, but was no longer allowed near the microphone. However, immediately upon resumption of the assembly, Barrigar again took to the dais to complain that his First Amendment rights were now being restricted.
Unfortunately for him, the mayor did not share his misgivings and issued an ultimatum to the conspiracy theorist. "I tried to give you another chance," he told Barrigar, "you can sit and watch the meeting if you like, but you've lost the privilege of the floor." If the conspiracy theorist was unwilling to keep quiet, the mayor declared, he would be removed from the meeting and arrested for trespassing. "It's your choice," Smith sternly said, "which would you like to do?" Unsurprisingly, the Flat Earther opted for the latter option and was promptly taken into custody by police without any resistance.