By JOE HARRIS
May 12, 2009
Courthouse News Service
ST. LOUIS (CN) – Two 9-11 conspiracy theorists say St. Louis used an unconstitutional ordinance to violate their right to free speech. Donald Stahl and William Demsar say city police arrested them on Feb. 6 for carrying a banner that stated, “911 Was An Inside Job!”
In their federal claim, the men say it was a peaceful protest calling for a new, independent investigation into the federal government’s involvement into the events of September 11, 2001. The men say they were not blocking pedestrian or vehicular traffic.
They say police arrested them and destroyed their sign based on an ordinance that states: “No person shall sell or offer for sale any goods or merchandise, display any sign or pictures, participate in or conduct an exhibition or demonstration, talk, sing or play music on any street or abutting premises, or alley in consequences of which there is such a gathering of persons or stopping of vehicles as to impede either pedestrians or vehicular traffic.”
Stahl and Demsar say the law is vague and overbroad, fails to provide alternatives for speech and lends itself to arbitrary enforcement. They want the city enjoined from enforcing it. They are represented by Anthony Rothert with the American Civil Liberties Union.
9-11 Conspiracy Theorists Sue St. Louis City
By Chad Garrison in News
May 14, 2009
Riverfront Times Blog
Two 9-11 conspiracy theorists are suing St. Louis City over an ordinance they say is unconstitutional.
Donald Stahl and William Demsar were arrested on February 6 for holding a sign reading “9-11 Was an Inside Job” from a pedestrian bridge over Interstate 55 just south of downtown.
According to their complaint filed in federal court, the two were approached by a police officer and told to leave the bridge. When they refused, they were arrested and the sign and frame allegedly destroyed.
ACLU attorney Anthony Rothert is representing Stahl and Demsar in the suit which contends that a city ordinance that prohibits the selling of goods, diplaying of signs, talking, singing or playing music near any street so as to impede traffic is unconstitutional under the First Amendment guaranteeing free speech.
The plaintiffs are seeking that the law be repealed and that they be rewarded for their court costs.