College PC

Arizona Students Arrested for Interrupting a Border Patrol Event Have Free Speech Rights, Too

"There is simply not enough information...to confirm that the protestors' conduct, taken as a whole, constituted unprotected disruption."

|

Arizona
Screenshot via Lone Conservative

As I reported late last week, two University of Arizona students were charged with interfering in "the peaceful conduct of an educational institution" after they interrupted a student-run event featuring border patrol officers. It's a complicated situation that prompts free speech concerns on all sides.

The incident took place on March 19 inside the Modern Languages building, where the border patrol officers "were presenting at a student club," a spokesperson for the university tells Reason.

The disrupters—two female students—shouted at the border patrol officers from outside the classroom, and later moved inside. The encounter was partly, but not entirely, captured on video: The women can be seen yelling at the cops and daring the event's student-organizers to call the cops on them. When the border patrol officers leave, the hecklers follow them out the building and yell "murder patrol" at them.

But protesting against agents of the state is not illegal. On the contrary, it is fully protected by the First Amendment. So the question becomes this: Did the students merely heckle the officers, or was their anti-cop activism so disruptive that the event could not continue?

As the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education pointed out, the available video footage is not comprehensive enough to make a judgment one way or the other. FIRE's statement represents my own views on the subject so exactly that I will reproduce it at length:

As a public institution, the University of Arizona is fully bound by the First Amendment. The First Amendment protects the right of public college students to engage in peaceful protest. This right protects student speech that listeners may find deeply offensive. Taken alone, the content of the speech at issue here — calling Border Patrol agents "murder patrol" and "an extension of the KKK," for example — is plainly protected by the First Amendment. Likewise, the call by a Border Patrol agent (with considerable political influence) to investigate and punish students for a letter criticizing the Border Patrol is a clear demand that the university violate the First Amendment.

The First Amendment also protects the right of public college students to hear from the speakers of their choice free from the heckler's veto. Attempts to prevent a speaker from being seen and heard by an audience are not protected by the First Amendment. However, as FIRE has previously stated, isolated heckling, fleeting disruption, or other expressive activity that does not prevent audience members from seeing and hearing the speaker is generally permissible.

There is simply not enough information in the brief videos that have so far been made public to confirm that the protestors' conduct, taken as a whole, constituted unprotected disruption. Video recordings capturing some of the incident appear to place the protesting students near the doorway but outside of the room, show the students refusing to leave, and indicate that the students and Border Patrol agents inside of the room noticed the demonstration. Although the student hosts of the event call law enforcement (saying that they did so because one demonstrator said the presence of the Border Patrol agents made her fear for her safety), there is no indication that the event was unable to proceed. When the Border Patrol officers leave, they are followed down a short hallway and into a garage by student protesters.

These facts present a close call between competing First Amendment interests. In such a situation, criminal prosecution is a heavy hammer. First Amendment jurisprudence recognizes that freedom of expression requires "breathing room"; filing criminal charges against students for campus speech that may be protected by the First Amendment will chill protected student speech. Students will rationally decide to self-censor rather than risk the possibility of criminal charges.

There is an important difference between conduct intended and designed to prevent others from expressive activity and protest which may incidentally impact or frustrate others' expression. This may sometimes be a difficult line to draw, but close questions regarding student First Amendment rights are rarely best answered through criminal charges. Likewise, the University of Arizona — the policies of which earn FIRE's highest, "green light" rating — must be mindful of its First Amendment obligations in reviewing the possibility of student conduct charges for potentially protected speech.

The government now bears the burden of demonstrating that the protest was unprotected conduct and that it meets the definition of the statute under which the students are charged. Criminal and conduct charges always warrant scrutiny, and scrutiny is justified here: Law enforcement officers are the target of the protests and there has been significant public pressure on the university to act.

FIRE will continue to monitor the situation closely.

Public universities have an obligation to make sure that students are able to enjoy the benefits of the free speech rights to which they are entitled. Frederick Douglass once observed that censorship is a "double wrong," in that it harms the speaker as well as those who wanted to listen.

At the same time, activists clearly have the right to object to the speakers—to protest them and challenge them. Arresting students for exercising these rights seems bound to create a chilling effect and strikes me as going much too far. It is one thing to bring charges against students who violently disrupt speakers. It's quite another to put them in legal jeopardy for merely shouting at cops from outside the door.

The two students have a court appearance scheduled for April 22, and the university police department is "continuing its investigation into the incident," a spokesperson says.

Unless more compelling evidence emerges that the hecklers' behavior very clearly crossed the line, I'd rather see this matter handled differently.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

103 responses to “Arizona Students Arrested for Interrupting a Border Patrol Event Have Free Speech Rights, Too

  1. isolated heckling, fleeting disruption, or other expressive activity that does not prevent audience members from seeing and hearing the speaker is generally permissible

    Is that what the students did? Doesn’t sound like it:

    The disrupters?two female students?shouted at the border patrol officers from outside the classroom, and later moved inside. The encounter was partly, but not entirely, captured on video: The women can be seen yelling at the cops and daring the event’s student-organizers to call the cops on them.

    1. This.

      The only problem with this incident is the selective enforcement – more often people who do the same do not get arrested.

      Imagine if a group of anti-abortion protesters pulled a similar stunt during an obstetrics lecture at a medical college.

      1. Imagine if they encircled a doctor’s office for weeks on end screaming bloody murder.

        1. So you’re too stupid to understand the difference between inside and outside.

        2. We call that practicing their free speech rights. What else you got?

          1. Google paid for every week online work from home 8000 to 10000 dollars.i have received first month $24961 and $35274 in my last month paycheck from Google and i work 3 to 5 hours a day in my spare time easily from home. It’s really user friendly and I’m just so happy that I found out about it..go to this site for more details…

            So I started ========>>>>>>>> http://www.payshd.com

        3. Google paid for every week online work from home 8000 to 10000 dollars.i have received first month $24961 and $35274 in my last month paycheck from Google and i work 3 to 5 hours a day in my spare time easily from home. It’s really user friendly and I’m just so happy that I found out about it..go to this site for more details…

          So I started ========>>>>>>>> http://xurl.es/Reason

      2. You can’t call it selective enforcement when it is different agencies from across the nation… really getting annoyed at this argument. UA police do not work at Berkley or Portland. To prove selective enforcement youd have to demonstrate UA police standing down in other situations.

        1. I am not a lawyer, and was not making a legal argument.

          Nor should a broader principle be considered limited by a legal definition.

          As you yourself note, there are plainly multiple episodes, across all sorts of jurisdictions where the heckler’s veto has not faced any sanction. And I still stand by my assertion that that is a problem.

          If you would prefer it not be called selective enforcement that is your prerogative.

      3. on Saturday I got a gorgeous Ariel Atom after earning $6292 this ? four weeks past, after lot of struggels Google, Yahoo, Facebook proffessionals have been revealed the way and cope with gape for increase home income in suffcient free time.You can make $9o an hour working from home easily??. VIST THIS SITE RIGHT HERE
        >>=====>>>> http://www.Aprocoin.com

  2. Babylon Bee captures it again: Movement That Demands Forceful Silencing Of All Opposing Viewpoints Unsure Why Nation So Divided

    1. They started off as some lame Christian jokes, but they’re better than The Onion now. They are the best source of satire at the moment.

      1. or bullshit, depending on your POV

        1. No, not really.

      2. The Left is now a Puritan sect, and Puritans aren’t funny.

        Q: How many feminists does it take to change a light bulb?
        A: That’s not funny!

  3. This is complicated by the fact that it didn’t take place on private property. If it had been on private property, then the correct criminal charge would have been trespassing. If no one’s rights were violated, then criminal charges are inappropriate.

    That being said, the First Amendment doesn’t protect violating other people’s rights with your speech.

    If the organizers want to sue the protestors in question for damages, such as for whatever expenses were involved in holding the event, then that should only require a preponderance of the evidence in a civil trial–rather than a criminal charge.

    1. In most of the US, and I suspect all common law countries, disturbing the peace and disorderly conduct are *crimes*.

      Jurisdictions that fail to enforce those laws against leftist activists are *collaborating* with those activists, and are violating the civil rights of the victims of those crimes under the color of law, and should be similarly arrested and brought to justice for their crimes.

  4. The greatest living libertarian writer Shikha Dalmia has noted that border enforcement is inherently fascist. Of course I condemn all forms of political violence, but verbal protest against the forces of fascism is clearly protected by the First Amendment.

    #OpenBorders
    #AbolishICE
    #NoBanNoWall

    1. Remember that speech is violence and violence is not protected by the First Amendment. Therefore, nothing is protected by the 1A, so that amendment is completely obsolete anyway.

    2. Are we just abolishing ICE or are we abolishing CBP too?

    3. But their shouting made me feel unsafe, and was therefore *violence*!

  5. We are no doubt applying to these protestors the conduct of numerous other disruptive protests which have been in the news the past several years. We have all seen a number of aggrieved using tactics meant to bring any speech or discussion with which they disagree to a (sometimes literal) screeching halt. Is that what happened here? Was that the intent?

    The protestor’s case wasn’t helped by the claim she felt “unsafe” by a person in the same room into which she just barged. That’s blatantly disingenuous. Additionally, the protest could have easily gotten its point across to attendees as they entered and exited the meeting.

    When two competing speech rights occur as they did here, I am not inclined to give the benefit of the doubt to those attempting to convey less useful and calmly presented information.

    1. It isn’t even about whether it is more or less useful, or more or less calmly presented….

      If you were to put together a comedy-based lecture on etiquette, presented in homage to the slapstick stylings of John Ritter and Charlie Chaplain, I think the rest of us should protect the integrity of your event, even if Ken Shultz totes a lectern up on stage and begins presenting the teachings of Emily Post in the style of William F. Buckley.

      It really shouldn’t matter if you are “protesting” or simply being a jerk. If you are disrupting someone else’s event, that is disorderly conduct and you should stop. So walking into the middle of a 5 year old kid’s birthday party at the pavilion at the local park and singing “Do Wah Diddy Diddy Dum Diddy Do” at the top of your lungs over and over just because you felt like it should be treated exactly the same as walking into the middle of a young republicans meeting and screaming your political chants at them.

      1. It really shouldn’t matter if you are “protesting” or simply being a jerk. If you are disrupting someone else’s event, that is disorderly conduct and you should stop

        Bingo. That is not free speech. That is a hecklers veto.

        1. Hecklers veto is exactly what this was.

          The protesters of course have free speech rights. They can protest outside and argue. But its not free speech to barge in and silence another free speech meeting.

    2. “The protestor’s case wasn’t helped by the claim she felt “unsafe” by a person in the same room into which she just barged [into].”

      Au contraire.

      Reason readers should remember that story about the suicidal guy in his bedroom, alone with a knife. The Female of the House was worried that he might hurt himself, and so called the cops.

      Naturally, after breaking down the door, the cops felt unsafe because he had a knife, and so had to shoot him. Good shoot.

      So you see, it’s totally natural for the person barging into the room to feel unsafe, and it’s their feelings of safety that matter. The campus police obviously should have shot the invited speakers.

  6. I don’t know that I see this point.

    Is it really exercising free speech, or is it good old-fashioned disorderly conduct?

    If I show up at an Obama or Trump event, do I get to disrupt it because I disagree with their policies? How much? 5 minutes? 10 minutes? Does everyone get a turn? Does it make a big difference if I go inside or if I drive up outside a public square where they are speaking and blast my favorite polka in protest of their policies on Poland?

    What if I want to protest the murder of horses to support the baseball industry? Can I take the field at the local public park and disrupt the little league game?

    Protesting is one thing… usurping the platform of others might be something else altogether – since you are inherently violating their rights in the process.

    1. Even the Founders disfavored the heckler’s Veto.

      In fact, the 1st Amendment does NOT protect unpeaceful assembly.

  7. “The two students have a court appearance scheduled for April 22, and the university police department is “continuing its investigation into the incident,” a spokesperson says.”

    IF IF IF there was a conspiracy to shut down the event, I’m not sure they should escape criminal charges just because their premeditated and willful effort to shut down the event was unsuccessful.

    Sometimes, in our libertarian desire to defend the First Amendment, we lose sight of the fact that the First Amendment doesn’t protect violating people’s rights with our speech any more than the Second Amendment protects our right to violate people’s rights with our guns. Threatening to shoot someone if they don’t empty the cash register isn’t protected by the First Amendment and neither are perjury in a criminal trial nor fraud.

    Conspiring to violate other people’s rights shouldn’t be protected by the First Amendment either. I don’t have a libertarian problem with treating premeditated murder differently from accidentally killing someone when driving drunk, and I certainly don’t see why evidence of premeditation should be excluded from testimony in a criminal trial on the basis of the First Amendment.

    If the defendants talked about shutting this event down on social media, or something, again, I’m not sure a criminal conspiracy shouldn’t be prosecuted just because the willful attempt to violate someone’s rights was ultimately unsuccessful.

    1. Agreed, but this is the Robby Suave who came to teacher Gregory Salcido defense over his delivery of anti-military rants in front of his captive audience of students completely misrepresenting what actually happened.

  8. What does Christine Amanpour think about this?

    1. I still have a soft spot for Amanpour. She was the only reporter to ask a follow-up question during the entire Clinton presidency. So even though nobody managed that feat during the Obama administration, including her, she’s still a bit of a hero.

      Of course, her immediate suspension by CNN for daring to stand up to Clinton is what helped ensure that no other reporter ever crossed that line again. So a mixed legacy, I suppose.

    2. who gives a steaming rat shit what she thinks about anything? asking for a friend

  9. The protestors were asked to leave and refused. Was this an open event? Can any member of the public enter university property and disrupt whatever is going on (class, meetings, conferences, etc.) and refuse to leave? Courthouses are public property too. Where do your rights end?

    1. So, pretend I’m an atheist. And I really, really believe that religion is a scam and people are being harmed. So I walk into services at a local church and begin yelling at the pastor that he’s a fraud and charlatan. I’m prepared to disrupt and debate all day. Polite requests for me to be quiet are met with chants of “There IS NO God!”

      Do you have to simply respect my free speech rights? Or do I get carted away?

      I mean, it is open to the public, after all. And I have the right to protest… protected right there in the first amendment.

      1. A church is private property that is open and welcome by custom, not law.

        1. So we can’t have events on public property without being forced to allow people to disrupt them? That is absurd. You have a right to have your own event on public property if your opponents do. You do not have a right to disrupt their event.

      2. You get prayed for.
        In the Old Testament way; as in calling down lightning, famine, disease, and a curse upon your house for seven generations.
        In a loving way, of course.

        Am I right Rev?

      3. Do you have to simply respect my free speech rights?

        *I* don’t *have* to respect your free speech rights in or outside of Church, atheism or not.

        You begin to speak. I punch you in the throat. You punch me in the face. A brawl ensues, police show up and haul everyone off to jail, guess how many ‘suppression of free speech’ violations get handed out.

        1. Yes you do in the sense that you cannot assault someone or disturb the peace, which is effectively saying you have to respect someone’s free speech rights.

          1. Sorry, maybe too subtle.

            Guy shoots a burglar in his house in the middle of the night, the cops don’t show up and ask if his free speech rights were respected.

            “Free speech!” is not some magical legal incantation that obliterates any and all other rights and legal principles.

            Behave like an asshole, get treated like an asshole, and sometimes the cops do show up and say ‘Asshole got treated like an asshole. Case closed.’

  10. the video can also be used to show how not disruptive she really was.

  11. Soave is essentially asserting a right to a heckler’s veto and harassing members of disfavored groups and organizations on the street going about their business. At the very least the club hosting the event has the right to have disruptive people ejected from their meeting without violating free speech rights.

    1. It seems to me that ejecting hecklers is not violating their right to free speech, just free speech at that particular location.

  12. Why is FIRE involved beyond school administrative sanctions? They washed their hands once the ETSU student in a gorilla mask was arrested for handing out bananas at a BLM rally as it then became a “criminal justice matter”.

    1. It seems that case still hasn’t been resolved, though from the details of what happened I don’t see anything he’s supposed to have done that isn’t protected by the First Amendment.

      1. More so than the disruption at Arizona

        1. I agree:

          https://mashable.com/2016/09/29/
          white-student-gorilla-mask-arrest/

          The student showed up to a BLM protest at a campus free speech zone, handing out bananas and sporting a sack emblazoned with the Confederate battle flag.

          “I’m just supposed to look at this,” says one black self-identified student who recorded Rettke at the protest. “If I punch him in his head, I’m gonna go to prison, right? But he can come out here and flaunt it in my face. He can come out and do that to me, right?…

          Yes, it’s called the First Amendment.

          1. Kids these days need to grow thicker skin. It’s like they think they have a right not to be offended and otherwise have no idea how to handle it when they are.

  13. Either there is a Heckler’s Veto or there is not.

    It does not matter if the school sanctioned event was ICE and ICE is bad.

    I think the solution is to close all college event halls and all events invited by colleges should be off campus on private property, so anyone who interrupts the events can be kicked out and if they return, charged with trespassing.

    Colleges are getting taxpayer money via student loans, science grants, etc and then avoiding their duties that come with that money.

  14. Remember Soave, they are only going to take down the statutes that YOU find offensive.

    They would never dare tear down statutes that YOU like.

    1. Actually, when it comes time to tear down statues, I say start with the statues that Robby likes.
      In fact, build a statue of Robby and tear it down first. Then stop.

      1. Is there a statue of the Breck Girl somewheres?

      2. Nooooooo. Not the Hair.

        1. Next the barbarians will go after Nick’s Jacket!

  15. Peaceful assembly and protest is holding a sign on the sidewalk.
    Saying bad things about officers is violence; words are violence as shown by liberals everywhere.
    So off with their heads!

  16. This is dumb.

    Are the ‘suspects’ being held while the criminal investigation is taking place? Have they been placed on house arrest, banned from campus, or even banned from the scene?

    There was harassment going on. It should be investigated. The police can conduct an investigation into harassment or disturbing the peace, come up empty, and drop the charges. This is the milquetoast, meet all parties halfway solution you’re looking for that, for whatever reason, you want to pretend is wrong (without providing any genuine criticism as to how it should be done better or different). Mindbogglingly, we have a situation where ICE Agents didn’t start anything, didn’t escalate anything and Reason is white knighting (if wandering around failing to find your own ass with two hands constitutes white knighting) for the people who did.

    The idea that the 1A says that charges can never be filed and investigations never conducted is stupid.

  17. Maybe I missed it, but did CONGRESS do something here? I thought the 1A text began, “Congress shall make no law….”

    This occurred on state property. Doesn’t state police power allow the state of AZ and UofA administrators latitude to determine what the dividing line is between ‘free speech’ (whatever that means) and ‘conduct’? For the record, when someone’s disruptive conduct prevents a speaker from making their speech, my view is that is the point where the line gets crossed. Whether that is 5 seconds or 5 minutes or 5 hours…..the point is, the speaker gets to say their say.

    I mean, we used to just call it good manners to let someone finish speaking. And then ‘tear their position apart’ with a measured, civil response. Like much else, good manners seem….antiquated these days.

    1. The incorporation of federal citizens’ rights to states under the 14th Amendment is the legal principle why states would need to protect 1A rights.

      There is no right to assembly that is NOT peaceful and there is NO right to Heckler’s veto.

    2. Wrong because first, constitutional protections apply just as much to the states due to the 14th Amendment. Secondly, if you criminalize ‘disruption’ then people can be arrested for sneezing. It would be a clusterflux of epic proportions. It’s easy enough to deal with disrupters by booing and then move on with the performance. If you really need secrecy and security then hold your meeting in private. Which you can do because we have freedom of association.

  18. I agree with this and would go even further. The listeners have just as much free speech rights as the speaker. If the audience disagrees then just boo them out and and they will leave and let the event continue as planned. The people who interrupted the Trump rallies will be remembered as heroes, and the hecklers who interrupted Shakespeare in the Park only served to vindicate the performance. So why didn’t the audience boo them out here? Because kids are snowflakes. This needs to change.

    1. The listeners have just as much free speech rights as the speaker. If the audience disagrees then just boo them out and and they will leave and let the event continue as planned.

      No they won’t. They want you to boo. As long as you boo, the speaker can’t be heard, which is the entire point of them being there. You don’t have a right to disturb the peace or disrupt peaceful assemblies.

      1. You’re completely wrong. Time after time the audience boos and the disrupters leave. You’re creating a problem that doesn’t exist.

        1. I can’t think of a sinigle example of it. Beyond that, even if it were true, that doesn’t make disrupting a peaceful assembly part of your free speech rights. Your rights do not allow you to deprive others of their rights and that is what you are advocating here. If you come and shout me down, I lose my right to peacefully assemble and freely speak. You are just arguing for the fascist veto.

          1. It happened all the time at Trump’s rallies. The protesters were booed and escorted out. Your right to free speech means only that government can’t interrupt you. Others can. And if you don’t trust the government with censorship, why would you empower them to police ‘disruption’? It makes no sense. If you really need privacy and security then make your event private.

            1. Trump rallies are not “public events”.

        2. Only peaceful assembly is protected by the 1A.

          If you are a unpeacefully protesting, the 1A does not protect you.

          1. And these girls were assembling peacefully. What’s your point?

  19. Who paid for the microphone? I just don’t see how interrupting a meeting some other group has scheduled in a room they have reserved can possibly be considered a free speech exercise. Just because it’s a public facility doesn’t give the public unrestricted access to the facility – try strolling around an elementary school some day or strolling around the county courthouse at night or, here’s an idea, try sitting in on a college class without being an enrolled student registered for that class, see how fast they throw your ass out.

  20. If the students are infringing on the rights of others to hear a message, then they don’t have the right of free speech to interfere with an event. The primary assumption of the exercise of a right is that exercise of said right by an individual can’t cancel or interfere with the rights of another individual. In the case of this article, the protesters have no right of free speech because the exercise of their “right” is interfering with the exercise of the rights of the people in the assembly.

    1. There is no such ‘right to listen’. You can’t just make up constitutional principles on the spot.

      1. The “right to listen” (or “right to hear”) should be implied. “Free speech” means nothing if you can prevent everyone from hearing that speech.

        1. Coulda woulda shoulda. The purpose of free speech is not so that everyone can hear you. The purpose of free speech is to prevent the government from putting you in jail where you will become radicalized and possibly a top Atomwaffen propagandist like these guys. This is why Europe is failing, and this is why America was founded in the first place – to escape the witch hunts and wars of the past. If you want people to hear your speech, then use your freedom of association to meet with the people you choose on your own private property where you can keep out the witches and goblins you so fear.

  21. An awful lot of VERY non-libertarian, and frankly vile, responses to this article. Yes, they have a right to heckle an event held on the property of a public institution; especially if they’re students, and are, therefore paying good money to be there. Compounded by the fact that it was a recruiting event for a law enforcement agency, again a public institution. We all pay for these dickheads to pretend they’re soldiers, no need to try and ruin some student’s ives with a criminal charge….not to mention, if you call the cops, you’re not only a pussy, but also should not be consixering yourself a libertarian….for Christ’s sake, if their heckling is bothersome, just close the classroom door and lock it.

    1. Your high-and-mightly, elitist libertarianism is not welcome here, among the cop succors and authoritarian malcontents.

      1. Right? And here I thought this was a libertarian ‘news’ outlet…

        That was a masterful use of the word ‘succor,’ as a double entendre of sorts….cause there are a lot of cock-sucking, cop succors on here. Which is truly baffling, as there isn’t a less authoritarian institution in existence as the cops in America.

        Say, don’t people usually have a problem with you on these boards? Cause I see an awful lot of shit talk about ‘the Rev.’

        1. That’s ’cause the “Rev” is a crank and a screaming bore.

    2. So the event hosts can hire some bouncers and muscle out anyone who is disrupting their free speech?

      1. They literally do exactly that.

    3. Thank you for this reminder. People are tired of the government treating us like children and they come to a libertarian web site seeking fellow travelers only to discover that the commentariat believes that we need police power to intervene on every issue. If someone disrupted an event I was at, I would just boo them until they left with their tail between their legs.

    4. “… if their heckling is bothersome, just close the classroom door and lock it.”

      If the hecklers are already in the room how does this solve anything?

  22. one demonstrator said the presence of the Border Patrol agents made her fear for her safety

    Sane people, when presented with a situation that makes them “fear for their safety”, will usually go someplace where they do not fear for their safety if at all possible.

    1. Soviets quashed dissent by accusing protesters of ‘insanity’. They were sent to the gulag for ‘treatment’. Many didn’t make it out alive.

    2. The “unsafe” phrasing is used as a magic incantation to ward off criticism of what they do. It does not hold up to rational scrutiny.

  23. “Did the students merely heckle the officers, or was their anti-cop activism so disruptive that the event could not continue?”

    Debate is supposed to be a contest of the content of the speech, not the volume of it. If they heckled the officers when the officers were speaking, they were violating the officers’ free speech rights, just as if the officers had done the same to them.

    1. Except, if a cop did so, they could beat, kill, or probably even rape you with zero consequences, but if you do that to them, apparently you’ll be charged with a crime.

      1. If so, the problem is the difference in treatment, not the treatment in this instance. But do you have any examples of police heckling or otherwise disrupting someone giving a speech or presentation? (Note: not police forcing protesters to move when those protesters are blocking traffic/sidewalks, trespassing, or similar things).

  24. This article quotes FIRE’s statement, but does not give a link to the source. Robby Stove gave them credit and it doesn’t look like he took anything out of context, but providing the link is still good practice.

  25. This doesn’t bother me. Especially since college kids who pull stunts like this rarely face any consequences. Plus the fact is they aren’t truly gonna serve even a day in jail.

    Personally I’d have hit them with just academic sanctions, but it’s nice to see a college take action.

  26. Any worse than what goes on outside Planned Parenthood facilities?

    1. Is anyone interfering with Planned Parenthood’s free speech rights? That’s what at issue here: not whether heckling is OK or not, but whether it’s OK to do so to interfere with someone else’s speech.

    2. Of course.
      Abortion clinics have special statutory protection providing for special punishments for those who protest them.
      Protesting against the Left is punished.

      18 U.S. Code ? 248 – Freedom of access to clinic entrances
      https://liicr.nl/2I9IDus

  27. I agree with Soave’s arguments,but he seems to be assuming that there is no other evidence. There is probably witness testimony that is not yet public. To me, it matters how much they were disrupting the actual event; most of the video is them hounding the agents as they were leaving. Criminal sanctions seem excessive.

  28. The Left always claims victimhood.

    They’ve been shouting down, and beating down, the Right for years, with the complicity of the local governments, in clear violation of equal protection of the civil rights of the Right.

    Once, finally, the cops *do their job*, and now Reasons gets their panties in a bunch.

  29. I quit working at shoprite and now I make $30h ? $72h?how? I’m working online! My work didn’t exactly make me happy so I decided to take a chance? on something new? after 4 years it was so hard to quit my day job but now I couldn’t be happier.
    Heres what I’ve been doing? ,,,
    CLICK HERE? http://xurl.es/reasonn

  30. I am getting $100 to $130 consistently by wearing down facebook. i was jobless 2 years earlier , however now i have a really extraordinary occupation with which i make my own specific pay and that is adequate for me to meet my expences. I am really appreciative to God and my director. In case you have to make your life straightforward with this pay like me , you just mark on facebook and Click on big button thank you?

    c?h?e?c?k t?h?i?s l?i?n-k >>>>>>>>>> http://www.Geosalary.com

  31. Under the First Amendment, we have the right to free speech.

    This right does not include the right to abrogate others right to free speech, i.e. you are not allowed to use YOUR right to free speech to deny others THEIR right to free speech

  32. Their “free speech rights” encompass protest, but it does not include depriving others of their rights to speak, or others rights to listen. If they would have stood in protest, or lain in protest, but silently, all would have been well.
    It is about time that the “Heckler’s Veto” was penalized.

    1. …as to the “lack of evidence”, isn’t that something for a jury to decide.

Please to post comments