City Attorney Larry Brown and the Winter Park Police try to explain
WINTER PARK, Florida (www.forerunner.com) – On October 22, 2012, Winter Park City Attorney Larry Brown gave details explaining what the city’s anti-picketing ordinance actually does.
The city and the city commissioners have been sued for the recently enacted anti-picketing ordinance which simply prohibits picketing within a 50-foot buffer from private residences. Picketing is defined as “standing, milling about, loitering” in front of someone’s residence while you’re protesting the specific people inside the residence. The ordinance doesn’t prohibit marching, parading. It doesn’t prohibit general expression. It just prohibits the focus right in front of someone’s home. – City Attorney Larry Brown
Now if someone could just explain this to the Winter Park City Police and the City Commissioners!
Compare this with the following explanation on April 13th, 2013 by the Winter Park Police.
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 “protesters” cannot picket inside the buffer zone. They also thought that no one can “loiter” outside the buffer zone. Either City Attorney Larry Brown was not telling the truth or they were confused.
Here is how one pro-life evangelist explained his understanding of the ordinance and how the City Commission responded:
Now fast forward to three weeks ago, April 27th.
Again they get it wrong. But they are less wrong this time. This was the second challenge to the “no-free-speech” buffer zone ordinance. Two weeks prior to this the police understood that we could not picket in side the buffer zone. They also thought that we cannot “loiter” outside the buffer zone.
This time they gave us a little more. They said we can march back and forth inside the buffer zone and camp out outside, but we cannot stand still inside the buffer zone even if we did not have signs targeting the residence.
This got a little confusing for a next door neighbor who thought that we were going to jail because we were outside her home.
It remains to be seen what would happen if someone stood outside the 50 foot buffer zone targeting the Planned Parenthood CEO and another person stood in front of that residence targeting the next door neighbor in the video 50 feet away from her property line.
In conclusion, I don’t blame the police or anyone in Winter Park for being confused about this ordinance. It is confusing. The best thing to do with the First Amendment is to just leave it alone. We can’t have freedom inside our homes unless we have the freedom to demonstrate our First Amendment rights outside.
Stay tuned for Tosh 4.0.