A North Road resident was arraigned in Concord District Court on Tuesday on charges in connection with an incident at Monday afternoon’s Bedford Select Board meeting. A plea of not guilty was entered on his behalf.
Brian Covel, 48, was charged with disturbing a public assembly and resisting arrest. According to a spokesperson for the Middlesex District Attorney’s office, he was released on personal recognizance, with a pretrial hearing scheduled for Monday, Oct. 2.
The court appointed Concord Atty. Polly Philips to represent Covel.
Monday’s hybrid Select Board meeting began at 4 p.m. Interviews with the two finalists for town manager were scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m. During the public comment period at the start of the meeting, Covel, appearing on Zoom, said he would present a statement, but first wanted to question why the session was starting so early.
After some back-and-forth, Covel began his statement, but was informed by Chair Bopha Malone that the standard three-minute allocation for public comment had expired, and he was muted.
A short time later, Covel and his wife arrived at the meeting in person, and without being recognized to speak, he interrupted the meeting, demanding time to read his statement. He was informed by the chair that the public comment period was over.
Covel started reading his prepared statement anyway, ignoring the board chair’s admonition to stop. A town staff member called the Bedford Police Department, and a short time later, two police officers showed up to the selectmen’s meeting room.
Lt. Richard Vitale several times directed Covel to cease reading, and when Covel continued, the officer said that if he didn’t stop, he would be arrested. Covel continued his statement, and the police escorted him out of the room to be taken into custody.
Covel has spoken during “public comment” segments at many town board and committee meetings in recent months, mostly with allegations about police and town officials relative to a personal situation.
Interim Town Manager Colleen Doyle has offered to meet with Covel, accompanied by representatives of the town counsel’s office, however, Covel has rejected this offer because the Bedford Town Counsel also represents the police.
The Bedford Select Board meeting of Aug. 14, including this incident, was recorded by Bedford TV. The incident with Covel runs from the 15:46 to 28:26 mark during the recording.