Smyrna Pays $85,000 After Resident's Profanity Arrest

The City of Smyrna agreed to pay resident Mary Kirkendoll $85,000 after arresting her for profanity at a meeting.

This week, the City of Smyrna settled the lawsuit with local resident Mary Kirkendoll after she was arrested for profanity at a meeting, and agreed to pay her $85,000.

At a town hall meeting on April 21, 2009, Kirkendoll uttered a profanity to the audience as she was walking out, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. She was then arrested and jailed for more than two hours before being released.

The AJC reports that Kirkendoll later filed a federal lawsuit against the City of Smyrna, claiming that it had violated her First Amendment rights and put her under false arrest and imprisonment.

The City ended the litigation this week, and agreed to pay $85,000 to Kirkendoll to settle the case.

RODNEY TILLIS October 12, 2012 at 03:18 AM
i realy want to know who was her attorney
Tony Orlando October 12, 2012 at 04:42 AM
Good for her! Bad for the rest of us who have to pay her settlement.
unclesam October 12, 2012 at 05:59 AM
I 2nd the motion !
unclesam October 12, 2012 at 06:31 AM
Animal Farm
Brian October 12, 2012 at 07:00 AM
No, I'm a homeowner and I don't want someone negatively impacting my property values by exaggerating the kinds of issues that all cities have to the point that people actually avoid Smyrna based on one person's exaggerations. I live in Smyrna but I own property in Atlanta as well, and Smyrna's problems are tiny compared to Atlanta, comparatively speaking.
Brian October 12, 2012 at 07:10 AM
Smyrna is a stronger market than Marietta. Marietta property values fell a lot lot more during the housing crash. I'm sure it's temporary, but it has fared worse than Smyrna. In fact, some parts of Smyrna went up during the whole thing. Others just negligibly went down. Those are on their way back up.
226 October 12, 2012 at 11:34 AM
If you want to talk about a Kingdom then let's talk about Marietta and their crown jewel that is 75% owned by one of its council members. You must only drive through select parts of Marietta on the way to grandmother's house and not down Powder Springs or Roswell Rd. I have not seen one new residential development in Marietta for years. Also, your Orwell argument is totally without base and not even applicable to this situation.
Cunningham October 12, 2012 at 01:34 PM
Pepper, the police also could have given her a verbal or written warning - tempers flare and things get said, but there should be a far greater threshold for throwing someone in jail, especially in a forum designed exactly for the expression of speech concerning your government's affairs. That line seems to be blurred for you, as you appear to put someone cussing on the same level with "gang bangers". As far as settling happening all the time - it certainly does - and the party doing the settling is the one that was about to lose and knew it. If it was purely to save atty fees, they would have settled as soon as she filed. Don't fool yourself, they settled because they knew they would lose. As far as who made the decision, saying it was the insurance company's and not Smyrna's decision is being hypertechnical. The lawyer agreed to settle because he knew he would lose and would have made the same call if he represented the city directly. I can't imagine why you have a problem with her expressing her opinions to everyone else, as you acknowledge that is yours and others' rights too - it's called freedom of speech and is one of our most treasured rights. So you're against freedome of speech?!?! Why, Pepper!! That's worse than being a gang-banger!! :)
Oscar G. October 12, 2012 at 04:59 PM
First Amendment, folks! You're free to leave Smyrna, and the USA for that matter, if you think that censorship, yes even of those whose speech you don't like/approve/agree with is acceptable. Ms. Kirkendoll standing up for what she believes in is in fact admirable. So in that regard, she is an asset to Smyrna. You may want to take a page from her book.
Oscar G. October 12, 2012 at 05:05 PM
Oscar G. October 12, 2012 at 05:10 PM
You're kidding, right? Hahahahaha! Those "children" hear far worse at home, school, and every single media outlet! That you advocate the violent silencing of a fellow resident, however, speaks VOLUMES about you, sir. As far as the Mayor and council not listening to her, they don't listen to anyone. ANYONE. If you come to that microphone, their ears all shut off. I've seen it countless times. Watch their faces, watch their actions, their behavior as duly elected "representatives" is disgraceful! I'd be willing to bet that MK's behavior is about the only thing they remember from those Public Comments because they fall asleep or worse when anyone else speaks! Disgraceful, the lot of 'em! And your suggestions are equally disgraceful sir!
Donna Short-Woodham October 12, 2012 at 05:51 PM
Mary gets $85,000.00 in settlement! Yeah! Freedom to speak one's mind is not against the law. The 55 useless comments above on how a citizen was harrased by the city and then sued... Has anybody counted the new lights on Atlanta Rd near city hall?120 Has anybody wondered how much your tax money was spent on those lights? $4400.00 for the short lights and around $6,680.00 for the taller ones. Mary gets $85,000.00 from her law suit because she was thrown in jail for speaking her mind. The city spends just under a million to light one city block near the city hall/Max Bacons Kingdom! The city has spent around $750,000.00 for 120 lights. Somebody should go to jail for wasted tax dollars! 60 lights and your all still in the dark. 60 lights and you can not see how your tax dollars are wasted. one more thing when you are on a witness stand you have to tell the truth that is the law,maybe that is why the city settled the lawsuit out of court.
Michelle October 12, 2012 at 06:06 PM
Well said Oscar!! You are right..we ALL our exercising our 1st Amendment right...Freedom of Speech. Its just that some of us are exercising our freedom of speech against MK, while some exercise their freedom of speech against those voicing it against MK, while MK exercises her freedom of speech towards the city and a select few citizens, so exactly what is the point in defining the right of free speech when it seems as though we have all mastered that task pretty well. It is admirable that MK stands up for what she believes in, just like everyone else that comments here. The difference is that we simply do not stand up for the same thing and there in lies the problem. So I guess the admiration should extend to EVERYONE that practices free speech and standing up for what they believe in...Right?! Or is it really the philosophy that "it's ok for me..but not ok for you" approach? Just curious because I think what we should really discuss is the hypocrisy, but then again I am sure that will loop back around to freedom of speech and 1st Amendment rights or we may even be so lucky to get a "Marxist" or "Bullying" comment. Seems to me its a vicious cycle of opposition in view points and the delivery of the message..which we all participate in. I think we should all take a page from each others book and maybe then we can advance beyond what clearly is not working for any of us. As usual Oscar..you bring such thought provoking conversation. Thank you. :)
Observer October 12, 2012 at 06:57 PM
"if the insurance company thought for one instant that the city was at fault, they would not have paid out." This is a failure of logic. The culpability or not of the city would not make any difference on whether the insurer would have to have made a payment to settle the suit. The calculus is - how much would it cost to defend against the claim and how much would be a potential payout be if the case is found in the favor of the plaintiff.
Open Your Eyes October 12, 2012 at 07:40 PM
Video of this - http://www.myfoxatlanta.com/story/19800306/woman
Chris Long October 12, 2012 at 08:46 PM
Observer, the logic is sound. I have 1st hand knowledge of this type of scenario. This is not a case of an accident that occurred b/c of negligence on behalf of the city, this is a case of alleged willful misconduct on behalf of the city. The insurance company did not have to pay this, they chose to. & if they thought for an instant that the city willfully engaged in the activities (as alleged), they would not pay & if the case went to trial the city would be out of pocket for any damages. If, on the other hand, what you are saying were true, then arson payouts would be much higher b/c the insurance companies would have no choice but to pay even though it was a willful act.
Pepper October 12, 2012 at 10:25 PM
Cunningham, I think you misread what I posted! MK has opened up all sorts of avenues for the criminals to sue for something as simply being stopped because their vehicle was seen at a crime scene. It doesn't matter if they were involved or not. They were detained for a check by simply being in the area. They may be a gang member and have been involved but that doesn't matter now. Next, sue the police department involved. A crime is a crime. Let her throw something at me. The situation would be different. I've never said anything against freedom of speech, however MK does not listen to anything anyone else says if it is against her idea. She has no right to attack someone that doesn't want to hear her repeat the same crap over and over. Apparently the people have spoken, Max Bacon is the Mayor! MK doesn't like this at all. But to always show up just to complain about everything because she can is utterly ridiculous! As far as freedom of speech, my aunt was ordered to jail for two months and out of Cobb Co. for her freedom of speech. Why should MK be any different? We all should be allowed to speak our peace but not over and over! I thank the SPD and SFD forces for keeping everyone safe!
Pepper October 12, 2012 at 10:33 PM
Well spoken Chris Long!
Pepper October 12, 2012 at 10:37 PM
So you use your friend to bash the city once more! Give up Donna! If it were left up to you, people would be left in the dark and the city would be sued for all the muggings due to dark areas!
Observer October 13, 2012 at 01:14 AM
Chris, City of Smyrna Police Officers are covered by "false arrest" insurance. Should this case have went to trial and a judgement for the plaintiff found, then the insurer would have to have made a payment. The issue of whether this was a willful act on behalf of the office does not negate the insurers responsibility to pay.
Alex October 13, 2012 at 03:22 AM
"The city continues to grow and evolve." Hmmmm. What growth do you speak of and where? And how has the city evolved? Please do share.
Pepper October 13, 2012 at 03:38 AM
And now for the peanut gallery! I think I'll go have a cup of coffee and not comment to AB!
Brian October 13, 2012 at 05:14 AM
I like the lights. It gives Smyrna a sense of place. I just hope very soon the city starts focusing on areas other than the Atlanta Rd cooridor. South Cobb Drive has areas in serious need of TLC. Hopefully, spreading the urban renewal down Concord Rd is a prelude to that. I'm not too worried about the areas on S. Cobb Drive South of Cooper Lake Rd (near where I live) and down near Highland Parkway. I think that area will be revitalized anyway and for most of it, a simple median here and there would do it. I'm more concerned about the areas North of Kings Springs Rd. That's where the greatest attention needs to be put.
Oscar G. October 13, 2012 at 05:16 AM
There is a vast difference in standing up for a principle, a heartfelt belief, and telling a fellow American to "go away." Or "Somebody should have popped her in that mouth of hers...If she didn't think the Mayor and council didn't listed to he rants before, she ain't seen nothing yet" Advocating violence and the silence of another citizen, that doesn't sound even remotely like what I understand the First Amendment to say, mean or even imply. And I've yet to understand what it means to speak out against a person? Shouldn't that be you're speaking out against their ideas and beliefs? How can you be against a person? Mary Kirkendoll, IMO, hasn't made Smyrna look anywhere near as backwards in it's thinking as the commenters on Patch. Talk about a poor reflection of a community. Stay Classy Smyrna.
Brian October 13, 2012 at 05:23 AM
Alex: Forest Hills and Belmont Hills, the new shopping Center north of Concord Rd, annexation of new high-end residential developments South of E-W. The city is involved for sure with all of these since their policies increased the land value enough or put in capital to make some of these things happen. E.g. with Belmont Hills, you have the connector rd being built and the new school which will definitely help bring people to the site. With Forest Hills, I would say Market Village and the Atlanta Rd SPLOST policies had huge impact. I see great long-term benefits coming from the tear-down of the most blighted apartments, even if it seems like wasteful spending right now (and some bad decisions made in the past to help subsidize them in the first place) since that has already cleared out a lot of the element in the Northwest part of Smyrna and hopefully will bring a much needed boost to the Northwest area, which is in the greatest need of attention. Smyrna has to do much more up there, however, since it's so blighted. It IS the oldest part of Smyrna built in the latter-half of the 20th century (ignoring parts built in the first half or earlier).
Michelle October 13, 2012 at 12:14 PM
Oh Oscar, don't let this get to you. What we have here is a simple case of emotions that people feel is their 1st Amendment right to express into words. I am sure we have all been in that place before, maybe even you...on the Patch. ;) So as long as we feel, believe and have the ability to voice "it"...it will probably be said, whether you or I or the next person can agree it is the right form of words to use or not. But of course, that is where that vicious cycle begins. I think your need to stand up for MK is sweet. I hope we all have cheerleaders in our lives like you. However as far as what MK has brought to the city...we may have to have opposing views on that....but isn't that our right to be able to feel, think and say that. :) Now, you stay classy too and go seize the day...it should be a beautiful one with lots to do around Smyrna or other cities if you aren't happy with the choices here. Until next time.....
Alex October 13, 2012 at 02:00 PM
Brian- The high-end neighborhoods south of the east west were annexed in. And annexation is exactly that, annexation. It’s inorganic growth. Not growth that came as a result of policy at city hall. The new Kroger shopping center. Minus the Kroger, what other stores are in the center? Belmont Hills. So you consider the entrance to the new school growth? Maybe you’re thinking once Belmont Hills gets built out, then it will help. Ok I can see that. But don’t you think BH needs to be built first? Haven’t seen earthmovers moving about over there yet have you? Next, the South Cobb Drive Corridor. To much there to try and cram into a cohesive argument here on Patch. Suffice it to say, that area looks the same as it did in 1988. And what is the city doing about that? Nothing. Not a thing. For me, I don’t call it growth when a street gets repaved or a shopping complex gets renovated. I see growth when I see businesses choosing to relocate here, when I see an area fundamentally transformed. I see evolution when you can see policies being set forth by city hall being adapted to the environment the game is being played in. And Pepper, bless your heart. I hope you have a great day today in the herd.
Chris Long October 13, 2012 at 03:44 PM
I'm aware of the concept of calculating the cost of trial judgements versus settlement, & I'm sure that the police department's insurance covers false arrests, much like doctor's insurance covers malpractice. That said, what MK alleges is that her arrest was a deliberate & orchestrated (& thus criminal) act on behalf of the city council and police department. I've never heard of an insurance policy that covered & paid out for criminal acts, but if there is one, perhaps I should shop for a new carrier. Either way, this gets away from the main point that MK did not prove or win anything, & she is certainly not "vindicated"...she's just richer.
Angela Chao (Editor) October 13, 2012 at 08:39 PM
Hey guys, we appreciate you sharing your thoughts and opinions on Patch. However, please be respectful to each other, and avoid person attacks in your comments. This is a community platform, we encourage meaningful exchanges and conversations, but please respect different opinions and be civil. Anything that violates Patch's term and use will be deleted. Thanks for your understanding.
Michelle October 14, 2012 at 03:46 AM
GaPatriot, I think that is excellent advice...maybe we should all not listen or read each others comments if we don't like it. BTW..thank you for serving our country. :)


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something