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Video posted of Hey's address, Council's discussion of anti-civil rights ordinance

Tuesday, May 19, 2015, 9:13 pm News Flash Archive

This afternoon, John Pittman Hey confronted the Greenwood City Council with the fact that, according to the council's official minutes, it is the official policy of the city of Greenwood to arrest citizens who "insult, deride, [or] ridicule" the police.

My statement to the council may be viewed here: John Pittman Hey addresses City Council re: anti-civil rights ordinance

The Council's reaction and feedback may be viewed here: Council members' responses to Hey address

Secret documents first published by The Taxpayers Channel last Tuesday disclosed that Greenwood police officers arrested Jelani Barr on April 7th in part because he criticized the police officers.

The official city policy authorizing such arrests was quoted directly in Lt. Powell's investigative report.

Both Hoskins and Powell described statements that Barr supposedly made that were critical of the policemen, and Powell claimed that Barr's statements were a violation of Greenwood City Ordinance 13-10 which makes it a crime to "insult, deride, ridicule" a police officer. Powell cited the ordinance as a basis for arresting Mr. Barr.

The Investigative Report may be viewed here: Secret Police Investigative Report re: Barr Arrest

The ordinance cited, 13-10, was adopted as part of a package by the city on June 21, 1963, as a way to target and criminalize civil rights protestors. The city on that day outlawed all unpermitted protests on sidewalks and streets, and made it a crime to insult, curse, ridicule, etc., the police.

An article published that very day by the Greenwood Commonwealth described the package of new laws. It was clearly meant to squelch free speech by civil rights protesters, and to make it a crime for them to object vociferously to police use of violence to break up protest marches.

The Ordinance also criminalized insulting the fire department personnel who assaulted demonstrators with water cannon.

The Ordinances, which were adopted one right after the other, may be seen in the city council's minute book here: City Council Minutes, June 21, 1963

The Commonwealth article may be seen here: Greenwood Commonwealth article, June 21, 1963

Ordinance 13-10, which is no doubt unconstitutional because it squelches free speech rights under the First Amendment, is still on the books 52 years later, and is still the official policy of the City of Greenwood.

In the case of Barr's arrest, one Greenwood police officer cited that official policy as a basis for his arrest.

John Pittman Hey
The Taxpayers Channel

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