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Aclu Newsbeat

Friday, May 09, 2014

ACLU sues Mpls, says All-Star Game “Clean Zone” is more restrictive than 2008 RNC

What in the Mitterwald is going on?!

The ACLU-MN is suing the city of Minneapolis, Mayor Betsy Hodges, and Police Chief Janeé Harteau for granting Major League Baseball’s request to create a potentially speech-limiting “Clean Zone” around Target Field during a two-week stretch surrounding this summer’s All-Star Game.

The lawsuit’s core argument is that Minneapolis officials have no grounds for essentially granting the MLB veto power over things such as banners, signs, block events, or parades. But an ordinance approved by the City Council in February does just that for a huge swath of the city (basically all of downtown and some surrounding areas) over an unreasonably lengthy period of time.

“All we’re saying is you can’t give away your permit process to a for-profit company,” ACLU-MN Executive Director Chuck Samuelson tells us. “It belongs in the hands of elected officials and they can’t give it away. This is a quintessential government role and the First Amendment doesn’t give private companies the power to decide who can assemble, where they can assemble, and what they can say.”

“That’s not an option that’s on the table, and for them to do it blindly and expect everyone is going to roll over is amazing,” he continues.

The lawsuit is filed on behalf of James McGuire and Robert Kolstad, members of the One Day in July Street Festival Committee who plan to hold a public event a few days after the All-Star Game in commemoration of the 1934 Teamsters strike in which two strikers were killed by Minneapolis police.

Though the street festival will require at least three permits—one for a block event, another for amplified sound, and a third for short-term food—the lawsuit says McGuire and Kolstad haven’t applied for them because they “do not wish to subject their speech and expressive activities to Major League Baseball’s review and approval.”

In an ACLU statement, McGuire says, “It’s an insult to me, and to all Americans, that before exercising my First Amendment right to speak and assemble I must first get permission from a private company.”

Repoz Posted: May 09, 2014 at 01:31 PM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: aclu, all star game

 

 

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