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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."