Since when does megaphoning the First Amendment merit an arrest?
"If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all." – Noam Chomsky, on The Late Show (1992)
When I lived in Manhattan for a year before law school (1985-86), it was still a twenty-four hour paradise of grittiness, adventure, and risk. Then came Rudy Giuliani and his scrubbing away plenty of the city’s soul and persona with his cleansing overkill of the city that continues to this day long after he left the mayor’s office.
Who would have imagined that, in one of the world’s loudest cities round-the-clock, the cops would arrest a man for megaphoning and commenting on the First Amendment? If I want to witness such abuses by the criminal justice system, I can visit demonstrations in Washington, D.C., just seven miles from my office.
Thanks to my brother lawyer Marc Randazza for blogging on the events surrounding this arrest of Reverend Billy. Jon Katz.