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City Pages: Downtown ambassador takes Melissa Hill's bike [VIDEO]

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geardaddy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-02-11 09:58 AM
Original message
City Pages: Downtown ambassador takes Melissa Hill's bike [VIDEO]
http://blogs.citypages.com/blotter/2011/08/antiwar_prot...

The guys who walk around downtown Minneapolis in yellow jackets aren't police officers.
They're private employees working for a non-profit, Minneapolis Downtown Improvement District, and their job is to help make downtown "cleaner, safer, greener and better in order to achieve a more vital and vibrant downtown." They're called "ambassadors," and according to DID are supposed to be the "friendly faces" of the city.

But you wouldn't know it from watching a video of two DID "ambassadors" harassing an anti-war protestor who was chalking the sidewalk in front of the FBI building on Friday night. The ambassador came up and snatched her bike, claiming it had been "abandoned," threatened her for "defacing public property," and said he could have her arrested for cursing.

The unfriendly ambassador puts her bike into his truck at the start of the tape, recorded by anti-war activist Melissa Hill.

More at link.

What an unbelievable ass. Sounds like he's got a cop complex.
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Mnpaul Donating Member (754 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-02-11 10:35 PM
Response to Original message
1. Melissa Hill must be a "quality of life" violator
From Block to Block's(the Kentucky firm) website:

Address 'Quality of Life' Violations to Include:
Panhandling
(non-aggressive & aggressive)
Loud or intimidating Behavior
Solicitation

http://www.blockbyblock.com/blockbyblock/services.php
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Jenoch Donating Member (67 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-02-11 10:55 PM
Response to Original message
2. The so called 'ambassador'
was a jerk and was completely wrong in how he handled the situation but the 1st Amendment does not give Melissa Hill the right to use chalk on the sidewalk in front of a federal building. She could march around there with a sign. She could hand our fliers. She could engage people in conversation and telling them her anti-war views but writing on the public sidewalk is not protected speech. (Don't get me wrong, I too wish we would pull out of Afganistan and Iraq. Our participation in the bombing of Libya was/is illegal. I just wanted to clarify the 1st Amendment part of this story).
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Lydia Leftcoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-03-11 04:57 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. Writing on chalk on a public sidewalk is not protected speech?
Since when?

If she can walk on it, she can write on it. It's not as if she's permanently marking the sidewalk.
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Jenoch Donating Member (67 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-03-11 07:38 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. It is not protected speech.
You also cannot write on the windows of the coursthouse, city hall, or the public library with a bar of soap even though the glass is not permanently marked.
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Lydia Leftcoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-03-11 08:42 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. You can't *walk* on the windows either
But a sidewalk is public property where anyone may walk. Therefore, anyone should be able to draw on it with a non-permanent substance. If not, a lot of kids in my neighborhood are lawbreakers for drawing hopscotch patterns and pictures on the public sidewalks.
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Jenoch Donating Member (67 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-03-11 08:59 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. Has anyone
co
Plained about the condition of the sidewalks? Just because it is not widely enforced does not mean writing on a public sidewalk is free speech. I'm not particularily worried about it, however.
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Lydia Leftcoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-03-11 09:09 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. What is the statute or case law that says that writing on a public sidewalk
is not free speech?
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Jenoch Donating Member (67 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-03-11 10:12 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. You are really concerned about this.
I am not. I seem to have put a burr under your saddle and for that I apologize.
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Lydia Leftcoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-03-11 10:34 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. So in other words, you're on the side of the authoritarians and
Edited on Sat Sep-03-11 10:35 PM by Lydia Leftcoast
are just making it up as you go along? Exceptions to the first amendment need a compelling reason. That's why I'm concerned about this.
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Jenoch Donating Member (67 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-04-11 12:00 AM
Response to Reply #9
10. I was just pointing out what I know about free speech. I am not agreeing or disagreeing with anyone,
I just wrote a short post on an internet message board. If you wish to get an answer from an attorney I suggest you contact MarshallTanick.
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The Velveteen Ocelot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-04-11 03:27 AM
Response to Reply #9
11. Actually, a federal appeals court has recently ruled
Edited on Sun Sep-04-11 03:29 AM by The Velveteen Ocelot
that chalk messages on a sidewalk are not necessarily protected by the First Amendment. http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org/sidewalk-chalk-mess...

Rev. Patrick Mahoney had contended that a District of Columbia statute unfairly limited his First Amendment rights to draw a protest message in chalk on the pedestrian portion of Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House in 2009. That stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue has been closed to vehicles for several years for security reasons.

The appeals court, balancing Mahoneys right to freedom of speech and petition versus a government duty to prevent defacement of public property, upheld a lower court ruling approving the chalk ban as long as it was content-neutral.

The District of Columbia government argued that the 1600 block of Pennsylvania Avenue is not a public forum when used as a writing tablet. There was no indication that officials disapproved of Mahoneys message, just his method, the court said.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said Mahoney and others in his protest group were free to announce any verbal message (and) could depict visual messages on signs, banners, and leaflets. It said that because the District did not curtail Mahoneys means of expression altogether, and allowed him to protest in front of the White House in other ways, the Defacement Statute is not unconstitutional as applied.


I don't particularly agree with the decision, since chalk is impermanent and doesn't deface anything, but the D.C. Circuit evidently thinks otherwise.
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Lydia Leftcoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-04-11 03:10 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. Well, another slice skimmed off the First Amendment
You should be able to express yourself in any place where the public is allowed to walk.
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ISUGRADIA Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-04-11 11:17 PM
Response to Reply #12
13. Not Really
1) Against the law under Minneapolis Ordinances

2) I don't want people chalking political or other messages in front of my house, they'd have that right if chalking was considered unrestricted free speech.

3) Why illegal? Unlike picketing or pamphleteering you're putting the onus on the property owner to clean up someone else's mess. Baring rain or a heavily trafficked area, chalk can remain in place several days or weeks. If a property owner wants it gone, they must clean it off.
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Lydia Leftcoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-05-11 09:23 AM
Response to Reply #13
14. The sidewalk isn't your personal property
Edited on Mon Sep-05-11 09:24 AM by Lydia Leftcoast
It's a public thoroughfare. I can see banning chalking on private sidewalks, like the one leading up to your door, but on a sidewalk that anyone can walk on?
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