BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A heated Metro Council meeting in which several people were tossed out is now at the center of a lawsuit.
Three community activists claim their rights to free speech were violated and they want a judge to hear them out.
It's hard to forget the Baton Rouge metro council meeting that happened just one week after the U.S. Department of Justice announced on May 3, 2017 that it would not be filing charges against the two Baton Rouge police officers accused in the 2016 shooting death of Alton Sterling. Protesters were fired up and ready to make their voices heard before their elected officials.
Mayor Pro Tem Scott Wilson ordered police to escort several people from the council chambers during public comment for speaking on topics he said were unrelated to that night's council agenda.
Three of the six people removed from the room were local NAACP President Michael McClanahan, radio talk show host, Gary Chambers, and the director of prevention for the HIV/Aids Alliance, Eugene Collins. Each began to speak about the Alton Sterling shooting and were escorted out in less than a minute.
Collins was removed less than three seconds after he started talking. McClanahan, Chambers, and Collins are part of a lawsuit filed Monday in federal court against Wilson and the City of Baton Rouge.
It alleges Wilson violated the men's rights of free speech when he had them removed and that he only did so because he did not like their viewpoints. The men's attorney, William Most, calls it discrimination.
"The pattern is clear. You say Alton Sterling, Scott Wilson he orders the police to remove you. You talk about something else you are allowed to continue talking," Most told WAFB.
The lawsuit also alleges that Wilson and the city have a "long history" of suppressing the voices of black citizens. Attorney Most pointed out this exchange between Wilson and white citizen Coby Weaver as an example of that.
Most says his clients are not looking to make money in this case, rather, they want a judge to declare that what Wilson did to them during the May 10, 2017, meeting was unconstitutional.
Both Wilson and the city attorney, Lee Anne Batson, declined to comment on the suit.
Click here to see a copy of the lawsuit.