RNC Planners Sued By Impeachment Group
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
St. Paul, Minnesota — August 12, 2008 — Impeach for Peace (IfP), along with
others looking to demonstrate at the Republican National Convention (RNC), filed
a lawsuit Friday with the help of the ACLU of Minnesota in Ramsey County District
Court demanding our right to free speech. Plaintiffs include: Jodin Morey and
Mikael Rudolph of Impeach for Peace, Colleen and Ross Rowley, and Ron Deharporte.
Impeach for Peace is a grassroots, nonpartisan organization based in Minnesota
with chapters in twelve states throughout the country working to achieve the
impeachment of President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney and holding
them and future elected officials fully accountable under the Rule of Law.
The RNC is having their election year convention in St. Paul, Minnesota at
the Xcel Energy Center. During this event, the St. Paul Police have decided
to relegate most speech activities in what they call the ‘Primary Event
Area’ to an inadequate ‘Designated Public Assembly Area’ or
free speech zone. The ‘Primary Event Area’ remains to be fully defined
by the police, making it impossible for people to know where in St. Paul they
can exercise their rights to freedom of expression and assembly. At the convention,
members of congress, mayors, governors, the President and Vice-President of
the United States are expected to be in attendance. This provides IfP and other
potential demonstrators with a unique opportunity to express their political
messages to these governmental officials.
The lawsuit alleges that the St. Paul City Council and police have created
guidelines for the RNC which restrict free speech to areas that are “inadequate
and unacceptably small.”
The ACLU also alleges that the City Council/Police denied IfP their due process
rights as stipulated in the Minnesota State Constitution by failing to give
notice of their plans regarding free speech restrictions, which would have allowed
for public comment and a public hearing.
The ACLU also contends that the City Council/Police has also reserved the right
to modify the guidelines at any time in ways that the ACLU contends are in violation
of the Minnesota State Constitution.
The lawsuit seeks to have the guidelines declared by the court to be in violation
of IfP’s free speech rights, to have the Primary Event Area and the Designated
Public Assembly Area clearly defined and officially released to the public,
and to have the Designated Public Assembly Area include additional areas that
are within sight and sound of the convention.
John Choi, the St. Paul city attorney has said "These two represent an
attempt by the plaintiffs to get another bite at the apple in state court."
He continued that the city has afforded "unprecedented access and accommodations
for the protesters."
Mr. Choi is incorrect regarding IfP’s “bite at the apple,”
as the plaintiffs on this lawsuit have not previously been a plaintiff in a
lawsuit regarding their free speech rights at the RNC. There was a previous
lawsuit with different plaintiffs, but it dealt primarily with a march planned,
not the specifics of the Designated Public Assembly Area.
Secondly, while Mr. Choi and Impeach for Peace may differ as to what is an
acceptable amount of restriction on free speech, these differences could have
been worked out if the city had engaged in its constitutional due process requirements.
Those interested in IfP’s plans for the RNC, are invited to attend a
meeting at Joe’s Garage on the north side of Loring Park in Minneapolis
on Sunday, August 17, at 4 p.m.
For more information please contact Jodin Morey, Cofounder of Impeach for Peace,
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