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Tosh 2.1: Retaking the “No-Free-Speech” Buffer Zone

The following is an update to Tosh 2.0: Retaking Winter Park’s “No-Free-Speech” Buffer Zone.

Update: 4/14/2013

WINTER PARK, Florida (www.forerunner.com) — On Saturday, 4/13/13, Florida pro-life evangelists went back to the Aloma Avenue neighborhood in Winter Park for the first time since the City Commission voted to enforce an ordinance restricting residential picketing. An earlier Awareness Campaign had occurred on 8/18/12 in the neighborhood of the CEO of Planned Parenthood of Greater Orlando, Jenna Tosh.

Analysis

The police got it partly right and partly wrong. The police say in the video that they had been on the phone with the city attorney all morning trying to understand the ordinance. They understood that we cannot picket inside the buffer zone. They also thought that we cannot “loiter” outside the buffer zone. Either City Attorney Larry Brown was not telling them the truth or they were confused.

What does the ordinance say?

“Picket”; “Picketing”; and “Protest”. The terms “picket”, “picketing” and “protest” shall all mean, for purposes of this Section, any assembly of one or more persons in which such person or persons, through conduct, speech or any other fonn of expression, criticize, protest or complain about any matter in which a particular person, group of persons or type of persons is specifically targeted for protest, complaint or criticism, and where such assembly stands, loiters, congregates or mills before or about a single-family residence, [emphasis added] where a person who regularly resides therein is, or is perceived to be, a target, focus, subject or intended recipient of the protest, complaint or criticism.

The city attorney explained that if a residence is targeted, then picketers cannot “camp out” or “loiter” within 50 feet. However, they may “march,” “proselytize” and “distribute literature.” The federal judge agreed:

They may camp out and form a picket line fifty-one feet away from the targeted residence, or down the street. They may parade through the neighborhood and past the targeted residence inside the fifty-foot buffer zone, so long as they do not loiter. The Frisby Court had to construe that ordinance to apply only to targeted picketing, but this ordinance explicitly does so….

This Court finds that the [Winter Park] ordinance is narrowly tailored because it is directed only at targeted protesting focused on a specific residence; the ordinance is not overly broad for the same reason—it is directed to the very particular harm caused by protesting within fifty feet of a private residence and forcing a message onto a captive, unwilling listener.

What did the police say?

The following is a partial transcript of the above video.

The city adopted an ordinance that restricts protests within 50 feet of a targeted location. 50 feet from the property line to both sides of the house. So if you were in excess of 50 feet from both sides of the house and not loitering in one area, but walking around, I would not have a problem with that at all. But the ordinance clearly says 50 feet from the targeted residence and that’s the buffer area that we have to enforce.

Asked if we can be marching back and forth in the buffer zone.

not within 50 feet of the property line.

They then explained that no arrests would be made because Jenna Tosh had not called and made a complaint.

Our city attorney just advised me that the ordinance that was written by the city attorney has been upheld and can be enforceable…. I just got off the phone… I will double check with Mr. Brown, but I talked to him …

Asked again if we would be arrested if we stayed inside the buffer zone.

I am saying that if you were in 50 feet of the property line and are targeting this residence, protesting or picketing, you are subject to arrest.

Does that include people who don’t have Jenna Tosh signs or are just standing in the buffer zone?

If we determine at that time that it violates the ordinance then you are subject to arrest, if that’s our determination at that time…. If we get a complaint from the home owner, we are going to enforce the ordinance as it is written.

Asked again if that includes people who don’t have Jenna Tosh signs or are just standing in the buffer zone with a camera.

If you are not picketing, under the city ordinance’s definition while targeting this house with certain information I would not arrest you. If you violate the ordinance, you are subject to arrest if they have a complaint filed.

Asked if people who were marching through the buffer zone with a sign would be subject to arrest.

If they are marching within 50 feet of the buffer area, yes.

Inside the buffer area?

Inside the buffer area, they would be subject to arrest.

Your comments are welcome!

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