Lubbock man says 4th on Broadway violated his free speech

Reported by: Ashley Claster
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Updated: 7/11 9:25 pm
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Parade goers saw more than just American flags and floats this year at the 4th on Broadway Festival. Justin Padgett was stopped by parade officials and police because he did not have a permit in advance to hand out his flyer of the Patriot Press, which criticizes many aspects of the city.

"I was just exercising my First Amendment to Freedom of Expression, Free Speech, Free Press. We feel that there's some issues with the city that need to get out to the general public that we couldn't normally reach," Padgett said. "You can't permit someone's rights to the First Amendment. That would make them not unalienable rights, correct?"

FOX 34 Legal Analyst Curtis Parrish said anyone can apply for a permit, from religious organizations to political campaigns.

"As long as it's content-neutral, they have the right to say you can or cannot participate in this event," Parrish said.

But Padgett said he did not need a permit because it is freedom of speech.

"I just think that the ironic thing is the theme of the parade was Stand Up For America," Padgett said. "Do you need a permit to stand up in America to express your First Amendment rights? What a shame. Is that really a country we want to live in?"

Parrish said even though the sidewalk is technically public property, Broadway Festivals still has the right to control what is being distributed during that time frame.

"Much in the same way that the South Plains Mall says, 'you cannot come in and solicit within our grounds.' Even though it is a quasi-public area, unless you get permission from the South Plains Mall, you can't go into that mall and campaign. You can't hand out literature without their permission," Parrish said.

But Padgett stands by his actions and wants an apology.

"This is a very, very important basic fundamental issue," Padgett said. "All I want is an apology from Broadway Festivals, and all I want is an apology from the police department. And I hope they will take me up on my offer for them to accept constitutional training, paid for by me."

The folks at Broadway Festivals are sticking to their guns, too. They released a statement reading, in part: "It is our policy that anyone who has not applied and has not received an event permit will be asked to leave. We believe this is only fair to the businesses and organizations that have properly applied and paid fees for the right to have a booth and participate in the festival."
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Shark - 7/18/2014 11:28 AM
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A sidewalk [Quasi-public property according to KJTV] is not the same as private property like S.P. Mall. At the mall, every square foot of the buildings and parking lot is owned by the mall. Their sole function is to rent out space for solicitors to advertise or sell. Such comparison between the mall & a public sidewalk is asinine. According to a story in the A.J., the city attorney said that there was NO such ordinance that prohibited handing out flyers on sidewalks or the "street" & the City Secretary said that no permit of such kind was available for sale in her office. Any jury, after receiving ALL the facts, will have to conclude that the cop attempted to enforce an imaginary ordinance. Some call it Official Oppression. Had the cop issued a formal apology for detaining and accusing a law abiding citizen of a false crime, at the very instant that he discovered that no such ordinance existed, his apology could have been published, restoring mutual cooperation between cops and the public. Unfortunately, it takes a man with integrity to drop the metallic shield in front of him, and admit that he was completely wrong, instead of constantly hiding behind it.

rmeals - 7/14/2014 1:31 PM
0 Votes
Exercising free speech on a public sidewalk is the same as South Plains Mall having to give permission for you to solicit? That's apples and oranges!!! The Mall is PRIVATE property open to the public. They can control what goes on there because it is not PUBLIC property. A city sidewalk is PUBLIC property, paid for my PUBLIC taxes, and the government (city of Lubbock) has no right to impede a person's right to free speech there. He was not soliciting, not selling anything, he was not campaigning for a candidate, he was passing out a one page flyer bringing attention to important issues that face the city, issues which are not being paid attention to by other forms of media. This encroachment on our God-given constitutional rights is sickening.

Shark - 7/12/2014 10:24 AM
0 Votes
The illusion of free speech is simply that. It is an illusion. If someone paraphrased passages from the bible, feeble, cowardly, government officials would interpret the passages as terroristic threats. The government executed a man of peace (we call him the Prince of Peace) because he pledged to allow eternal life ONLY for those who turned away from corruption. Is there really any difference between the Pontius Pilate, and our mayor & his son, or city attorney & his son, or city manager, or head of LP&L, or an LISD superintendent that orders the destruction of a church, etc.
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