Article updated at 7:32 p.m. Wednesday:
A Lawrence man known for his anti-mask protests near school buildings and district offices was arrested Wednesday just before the Douglas County Commission meeting.
Douglas County sheriff’s deputies arrested Justin Spiehs, 40, on suspicion of disorderly conduct, “after observing his conduct of loud, rude and profane language and actions directed at a resident attending the Douglas County Commission meeting Wednesday evening,” sheriff’s office spokesperson George Diepenbrock said via email.
“The incident occurred prior to the meeting, and his arrest was not at the order of commissioners.”
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Spiehs was previously arrested Saturday, Nov. 13, after police were called to a vaccine clinic at West Middle School. Police said a person had reported that Spiehs had separated a stick from a sign he was holding and began to wave the stick at them, causing them to fear bodily harm.
In connection with that incident, Spiehs is facing three felony charges: two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, for allegedly placing an adult and a 9-year-old child in fear of immediate bodily harm; and interference with law enforcement, for allegedly obstructing an officer in discharge of official duty.
A preliminary hearing in that case, during which Judge Sally Pokorny will determine whether there is enough evidence to bind Spiehs over for trial, is set for 3 p.m. Thursday.
Spiehs was released from the jail on a $300 bond Wednesday evening, jail records show. The disorderly conduct charge was pending review by prosecutors.
Attorneys representing Spiehs in his felony case did not immediately respond to emails seeking comment Wednesday evening.
All arrestees and defendants in criminal cases should be presumed not guilty unless and until they are convicted.
Spiehs has filed to run as a Republican for the District 1 Douglas County Commission seat, currently held by Patrick Kelly.