Sunday, August 30, 2009

"It ain't [America] no more, OK?"

A friend tipped me to this video from Jim Moran's (D-VA) town hall meeting in Reston, VA on August 25th. In it, police officer Wesley Cheeks Jr. tells a protester that he can't have his anti-Obama poster, and if he continues to display it, he'll be arrested for, er, trespassing or for whatever reason the officer feels like arresting him.

The mask slips completely when the protester reminds him that "this is America", and officer Cheeks replies "It ain't no more, OK?"


Update: I guess I missed a lot while I was in Vegas this week, because Hot Air had this up on Friday. But I think Allahpundit misses the point:
The question: Can a congressman bar signs, or certain types of signs, from an event at which he’s speaking? The answer (and the ambiguity) turns, I assume, on whether the event is “public” or “private.” It’s a public school and Moran is very much a public official, but recall that Claire McCaskill evidently got away with imposing a “no signs” policy at her own town hall where the incident with the Rosa Parks poster happened. That makes me think either there’s some sort of public/private wrinkle to these meetings that we’re missing or that banning signs is valid as a “time, place, or manner” restriction on certain forms of speech.
The cop obviously had no idea on what legal grounds he might be standing when instructing the gentleman to put away his poster. The cop didn't like it and was grasping at any justification for his actions, as Allahpundit himself points out:
But if that’s so, why does the guard here seem to distinguish between signs with images on them and signs that are text-only?
Not only did the cop grope for justification, he couldn't think of anything to arrest him for besides trespassing. It's pretty clear the cop was acting on his own and making shit up as he went along. This has nothing to do with whether or not a congressman can ban signs from public events.

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