Legal source entry


My research topic is on if whether or not police attacking protesters infringes on their first amendment rights. This topic interests me for a few reasons. one reason being our current political climate with there being drastically different police action taken across country in response to protesters. Another reason being my own curiosity as to what special privilege’s is law enforcement given to violate the constitution.


Dye, Brent E. “NORTHERN KENTUCKY LAW REVIEW.” Northern Kentucky Law Review ,


My source is a law review article. In the article, police clashed with anti-abortion protesters in Kentucky who were protesting using graphic images of mutilated fetuses. this allegedly causes some drivers to be distracted (without having caused an accident) but was brought to the attention of the police. The police had asked them to either move their protest away from the road or remove the imagery of fetuses. The protesters refuses both and were arrested under the cities loitering ordinance. The protestors brought the department to court and the court favored the police and granted them qualified immunity. I believe the authors main point is that the police need the necessary permission of qualified immunity in order to keep the public at peace. It is abundantly clear that the author of this reviews favors the police in this case. The authors conclusion agrees with the outcome of the case on the basis that the protesters first amendment rights were not violated and the police were correctly given qualified immunity because they were trying to uphold public safety.
I agree with the authors view point of this outcome with some exception. I agree in this instance that the imagery the protestors showed to drivers passing by could have potentially caused as accident which is a public safety danger. However, i do not agree with the arrest of the protestors and forceful removal of them. When the protestors tried to sue the police argued for qualified immunity. However, Qualified immunity for law enforcement sounds like a blanket get out of court free card for law enforcement which is not good. It allows them to violate a citizens rights and avoids law suits under common law. Also Law enforcement should not be allowed to use something like “loitering” as an excuse to arrest protestors.
“In Frye, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals correctly held that because the police officers had a significant interest in upholding public safety, they did not violate the protestors’ First Amendment rights when the officers placed reasonable restrictions as to where the protestors could display their highly graphic and offensive signs.” This quote from the author clearly indicates his bias. I do not like his use of the word “correct” in this article because for the study of law, this should not be read as an opinion piece. The first amendment does allow for reasonable restriction such as time and place, however the officers used a claim of loitering to arrest the protestors which i do not think should be allowed.

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