Man holding "Free Manning" sign arrested at 4th of July parade


"Jason Urbanski, 37, of San Francisco, was charged with a Class A misdemeanor for resisting law enforcement, and a Class B misdemeanor for disorderly conduct after refusing to leave the parade route in downtown La Porte. Urbanski was asked to leave after he was caught carrying a sign reading “Free Manning,” a reference to Pfc.… READ THE REST


See, this is why I think hemp will be fully legalized soon.

We’re going to need all that jail space for political offenders. Anyone who speaks out against the government is gonna get at least a phone call or an intimidating visit from their local PD for daring to poop on the myth of American Exceptionalism.


Clearly, he failed to understand that he wasn’t in a free speech zone. How is it that the Westboro Baptist Church can show up at other people’s events and not get arrested?


they’re all lawyers, from what i understand. cops only pick on folks who can’t fight back.


Sadly - they’ll probably drop the charges, their goal (removal of the free speech from possibly being in front of the TV cameras) having been achieved, and going to court with this would be a colossally bad idea on the part of the prosecution… And the police wonder why people don’t trust them anymore…


He can still file a civil rights suit.


It’s because they don’t actually get into the events. They just stand within eyeshot or earshot on the periphery of the March/Funeral/Memorial and act like jackasses there. My reading of linked article is that this guy crashed the Jaycee’s parade and started marching in it with his own sign. The parade sign moderator, sort of an ancestor of yours, told him to cancel his posting and called the cops on him when he wouldn’t.

A classic of “Freedom Of Association” trumping “Freedom Of Speech”. I don’t have to listen to you or anyone else whose opinions I dislike on my bulletin board or in my parade. The US government is legally a bit more restrained in who they can tell to shut up but this wasn’t a government sponsored event.


That’s because cops are pussies.


He’s welcome to hold a sign in protest. He’s not welcome to march in the parade (that a private entity applied for permits for).


He’s welcome to hold a sign in protest. He’s not welcome to march in
the parade (that a private entity applied for permits for).

What’s your bag anyway? Does it seem like an acceptable state of affairs that people need permits to assemble publically?


The Jaycees paid for the parade.

I wonder how Manning feels about people hijacking Jaycees’ parades in his name.

Maybe the Jaycees should have held on to their money, and waited for the Manning supporters to pay for a parade of their own, and then crash theirs.


I object to needing a permit to assemble. But I think it’s perfectly reasonable to need something to request road / lane closures. Otherwise it would be perfectly reasonable to cite everyone involved with jaywalking. If you wish to argue that even that is unreasonable, then I’m going to have to just say that I disagree with you and move on.


I don’t have to listen to you or anyone else whose opinions I dislike on my bulletin board or in my parade. The US government is legally a bit more restrained in who they can tell to shut up but this wasn’t a government sponsored event.

Well, it’s a city street. And the city gave the Jaycees a permit. And the city cops arrested the guy for violating state statutes. That’s a lot of governmental involvement. In contrast, a bulletin board moderator is a private person enforcing private policies on a privately owned computer network.

In general, you can’t be arrested for holding a sign on a city-owned street based on the content of the sign. That doesn’t change just because some organization paid for a parade permit. The question is whether this was enforcement of a “time, place, or manner restriction” or whether it was a content-based enforcement. In other words: were other people joining the parade and not asked to leave? Were the only people asked to leave those holding Manning signs? If so, that’s government enforcement of a content-based speech restriction, which would normally be a clear First Amendment violation. Maybe that changes because of the parade permit, but I doubt it.


And then police power was used to suppress a dissenting (or off-topic) opinion. Which has nothing to do with the road closure/public safety issue that forms the basis of the permit.


Need more specifics here. Were they asked to leave the area entirely or just stop marching IN the parade? I think the latter is actually reasonable. Seems OK to me for the parade organizers to simply ask them not to march IN their parade. The guys could have just stood by the sideline and help up their signs, right? But it’s tough to say from the original article whether the cops just asked them to step out of the parade or to scram completely. Kind of depends on exactly how “asked to leave” went down.


Who said anything about suppressing dissenting opinion. The article says that he was crashing someone else’s private event and the organizer of the event requested that he be removed (which was within the organizer’s right). Sure it was on public property. But it was effectively rented to this organization. It’s not unlike how one might rent out a pavilion at a park for a party. Sure it’s public property and under normal circumstances anyone can use it. But when it’s rented out, the person who rented it can welcome others outside the event or can ask that those people be removed regardless of any reason.


Restore The Fourth!


Not really. First, let’s keep the discussion on the topic of streets, not pavilions or buildings – because the Supreme Court has held that you have more speech rights on public streets than in public buildings in some cases. Second - and more importantly – if you rented out a street and then said only invited people could attend, or only the first 100 people can attend, that’s probably fine. It’s called a “time, place, and manner” restriction. But if you rent out a street and then say everyone can attend as long as they are white, then the state would violate the constitution if it helped you enforce that restriction. Similarly, if you say anyone can attend as long as they don’t say anything bad about Obama, the state violates the constitution when it helps you enforce that restriction.

So you are right - you could rent out a street and say only my invited guests, or only my friends can attend. But you cannot say “anyone in the world can attend except people whose speech I disagree with.” If you do have such a policy, the police cannot help you enforce it.

In Johnson v. Minneapolis Park and Rec Board, Johnson,an evangelical Christian wanted to distribute bibles during a Pride celebration. Pride had gotten a permit to take over the whole park. This was the third case between the parties, so Pride had already come up with a content-neutral regulation: they prohibited all distribution of any books in the park, regardless of content, except from official booths. But the court explained that beyond this content-neutral regulation, Johnson was free to express his views.

As noted by the federal district court, public parks are considered
“quintessential public fora” for exercising one’s First Amendment rights. Moreover, the court
noted that public parks “retain that status where, as here, a private actor assumes non-exclusive
control of an area to hold an event to which the public has free and open access.


At issue here is not blanket prohibition on speech, it is a regulation of the time
and places that one particular manner of speech may be exercised. Apart from the
requirement that materials be distributed from a booth, Plaintiff [Johnson] is free
to engage in all other forms of non-disruptive expressive activity throughout
Loring Park. He is free to wear clothing expressing his beliefs, to hold signs, to
approach attendees and converse with those willing to engage with him, and to
direct attendees to areas where they may receive a free Bible should they desire

Similarly, the Jaycees could come up with content-neutral restrictions (e.g., only Jaycees allowed in the parade). But if they are kicking him out solely based on the content of his speech, the police cannot enforce that restriction.


Man. As a socialism-loving, maple syrup swilling Canuck, I have to ask: do you guys have any freedoms left anymore, or are those all restricted now “for your safety”?


This is reasonable as long as it’s applied equally to everyone regardless of their views. Admittedly, my assessment of this issue is tainted by the recent Pride parade in San Francisco when basically anyone was allowed/encouraged to join in and march along with the parade. If that’s your parade policy, you can’t kick someone out based on their viewpoint. But of course, in a more traditional parade, where only members of specific organizations are allowed to march, then an organizer is justified in excluding all others. (of course, if a member of an invited organization - say, a member of a high school marching band - decided to wear a Free Manning shirt, he could not be expelled on that basis).