Quartzsite, Arizona Mayor Ed Foster says the town’s council declared martial law Sunday in a secret, illegal meeting.
Foster told The Associated Press that the council put Police Chief Jeff Gilbert in charge of the city, making the mayor “deputy chief executive of nothing right now.”
The council members reportedly told Foster that they had declared a state of emergency because they had received death threats after a video of activist Jennifer “Jade” Jones being arrested at a previous meeting went viral.
In the video, Jones appeared to be complaining about tax increases, but several council members said she was out of order.
The Arizona Republic reported that residents of the town’s nearly 70 mobile-home parks had become enraged after the council raised water and sewer rates for the first time in a decade.
Foster has previously asked Gov. Jan Brewer’s office, the Attorney General’s Office and the FBI to investigate corruption in the town.
The mayor is facing a recall election in August.
Watch this video from ABC 15, broadcast July 12, 2011.