Veteran sues after being arrested for holding 'God bless the homeless vets' signal

A U.S. navy veteran and retired truck driver, who was arrested for a holding an indication with the message “God bless the homeless vets” in entrance of a Georgia metropolis hall, filed two lawsuits Tuesday alleging his First modification proper to discuss freely exterior authorities buildings had been infringed upon. 

“If the most important modification means something, it should imply that you simply might even be maintain an indication in entrance of metropolis hall with out being handcuffed,” the muse for particular person Rights and Expression (hearth) lawyer Adam Steinbaugh informed Fox information Digital in an announcement. “we look forward to vindicating Jeff’s rights and reinforcing the rights of all.”

hearth filed the two lawsuits on behalf of Jeff grey, who sued metropolis of Alpharetta, Georgia, and two of its regulation enforcement officers and the police chief of metropolis of Blackshear, Georgia, for his repeated detainment, search and arrest, which he believes to be an infringement of his constitutional rights.  

“I even have been harassed, trespassed, handcuffed and arrested numerous instances for peacefully exercising my First modification rights,” grey said, in maintaining with a report from hearth. “My intention is to make sure that that every people from the wealthiest millionaire to the poorest homeless particular person can practice these rights with out fear of consequence from our authorities.” 

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Courtesy of Lacy Jessica Photography

Courtesy of Lacy Jessica photos
(Courtesy of Lacy Jessica photos)

In January 2022, whereas grey stood on a public sidewalk exterior of Alpharetta metropolis hall holding the signal that be taught “God Bless the Homeless Vets,” police informed him that the movement was a style of illegal “panhandling,” in maintaining with hearth. grey documented the scene collectively with his personal digicam to see how the final public and police would react. 

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grey informed police that he was not asking anyone for money, however even when he was, he has the acceptable to take movement beneath the most important modification, in maintaining with hearth. Police threatened arrest if he refused to cease. 

Alpharetta police reportedly seized and turned off grey’s video digicam, demanded to see his identification, searched him to get your hands on it and banned him from the world, which hearth alleged is a violation of his First modification proper to film police in public places, to consult with out being compelled to establish himself and to work together in expression in a public place.

Courtesy of Lacy Jessica Photography

Courtesy of Lacy Jessica photos
(Courtesy of Lacy Jessica photos)

“If that is how Alpharetta police deal with a man with a digicam, how do they act the the rest of the time?” Steinbaugh said inside the report. “the most important modification protects the acceptable to maintain up an indication — and it definitely protects the acceptable to film police exercise in a public space.”

In Blackshear, metropolis’s Police Chief Chris Wright issued grey a authorized citation and him that he wished to have a allow for a “parade, procession, or demonstration” to maintain his signal exterior metropolis hall, in maintaining with hearth. Wright referred to as it “style of foolish,” however defined that in accordance with metropolis’s ordinance, which hearth said is style of akin to a regulation struck down by the Supreme courtroom in 1969, grey should ship a letter to the mayor and metropolis council explaining the purpose of his demonstration and procure official approval to take movement. 

hearth additionally despatched a letter to Blackshear’s mayor explaining that the lawsuit intends to carry an finish to metropolis’s permission-to-converse ordinance. 

Courtesy of Lacy Jessica Photography

Courtesy of Lacy Jessica photos
(Courtesy of Lacy Jessica photos)

“Jeff grey doesn’t want a authorities-issued permission slip to discuss — the most important modification is his permission slip,” hearth lawyer Harrison Rosenthal said inside the report. “talking out in public areas is a core First modification proper, whether or not authorities officers acknowledge it or not. If our cities gained’t educate officers to do their job correctly, hearth will.”

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In 2011, grey started importing recordings of what he calls “civil rights investigations” to his YouTube channel, HonorYourOath Civil Rights Investigations. In his movies, grey peacefully asserts his First modification rights in cities through the southeastern U.S. and paperwork each constructive and damaging interactions with police. 

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