View Full Version : Anti-Bush protesters arrested at rally sue Secret Service

08-07-03, 04:11 AM
The Associated Press
8/6/03 11:25 PM

MIAMI (AP) -- Three protesters who were arrested at a 2002 rally attended by President Bush for refusing to picket inside specified areas sued the Secret Service Wednesday, arguing that their First Amendment rights were violated.

The suit in Tampa federal court also names the Hillsborough County sheriff's office and the University of South Florida in Tampa, site of the November rally for Gov. Jeb Bush at which the president, his brother, appeared.

Joe Redner, Adam Elend and Jeff Marks said they attended the rally specifically to protest the Secret Service's designated "free speech zones." Redner said his sign read "Don't let these crooks fool you" on one side and had a quote from a Supreme Court free speech decision on the other.

Officials at the public university's arena ordered the men to move to a designated zone about a half-mile away, and deputies arrested them when they refused, Elend said.

"There were a couple hundred people there (at the protest zone), but you couldn't see it from where the event was happening," Elend said.

Neither the Secret Service nor the sheriff's office returned phone calls Wednesday.

"We're confident that the legal process will reveal that we didn't violate anybody's rights," said Michael Reich, a spokesman for the university and Sun Dome Inc., which operate the arena.

Bruce Winick, a professor at the University of Miami School of Law who is not involved in the case, said courts traditionally have allowed restrictions that are reasonable as to time, place and manner. For example, he said, a city could order that a noisy protest be held a reasonable distance from a hospital.

But, he said, restrictions must be applied equally to protesters and supporters.

Elend said the Secret Service and deputies for the most part allowed those with pro-Bush and neutral signs to stay nearby but sent protesters to the zone.

Redner said he understood the Secret Service must do its job, "but if someone wanted to kill the president, I think I'd go with a sign saying 'I love the president."'