April 8, 2011

Someone arrested at Mardi Gras

...and it isn't who you think.

In Bethel v. City of Mobile, an Alabama federal district court found that police officers had probable cause to arrest a Mardi Gras demonstrator for disorderly conduct. Plaintiff Orlando Bethel, along with his wife and three children, attended the Mobile (AL) Mardi Gras parade in order to evangelize their religious beliefs. They carried signs with messages such as: "God hates you wicked baby killing whores repent." A woman attending the parade complained to police officers that Bethel had shouted at her 13-year old daughter (who was sitting on her boyfriend's lap), calling her a whore and a prostitute. Police took Bethel and his family into custody and seized their signs. The court concluded that the language used by Bethel arguably were fighting words justifying the arrest. It rejected his argument that his arrest violated his 1st Amendment and equal protection rights, and that seizure of his signs violated the 4th Amendment.

This one is likely to make it to SCOTUS.

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2 Comments:

Labrys said...

You know, it may make it on the free speech bit. What these sorts need to worry about is when us usually civil non-fundamentally deranged (heads NOT up our asses) sorts start RESPONDING with free speech in return.

Old NFO said...

Labrys said it better than I.