Monday, May 16, 2011

No Such Thing As Free Speech Rights In Chicago

As Chicago Mayor Richard Daley was leaving City Hall for the last time on Friday, a protagonist yelled at him, "Fuck the mayor." Yep, that will get you arrested in Chicago, particularly when a police officer gets hit by a bus while chasing after you to make an arrest. From the Sun-Times:

A Chicago Police officer was struck by a CTA bus while chasing a man who allegedly swore at Mayor Daley as he was leaving City Hall Friday for the last time as mayor.

About 4:45 p.m. Friday, as a crowd gathered to watch Daley say goodbye to City Hall, Janusz Kopycinski, 30, allegedly yelled “F - - - the mayor,’’ police said.

Kopycinski ran, followed by police officers. As he was being arrested, a male officer was grazed by a moving CTA bus, police said.

The officer was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital with non life-threatening injuries, police said.

Kopycinski, of the 6500 block of West Wellington, was charged with three counts of resisting arrest, two counts of disorderly conduct and one count of reckless conduct. He was arrested in 2007 for battery to police.
Here's a good example of why there should be limits on police officers making warrantless arrests and entries into people's homes. Mayor Daley may not have liked what Kopycinski thought of him, but his police department had no valid reason for making an arrest based on his spoken words alone. Daley, by the way, is being provided permanent protection by the Chicago Police Department. Incoming Mayor Rahm Emanuel has assigned several police officers to protect the former mayor, who lives in a gated community, on a 24 x 7 basis at Daley's request. Daley will also be drawing a pension from taxpayers of $184,000 a year. He earned $216,000 a year as Chicago's mayor.  Behold, King Daley.


Cato said...

There is no crime of resisting arrest for a non-criminal act.

I'm glad the cop was hit, but I wish the injuries would have been more severe. How far were the cops willing to go to attack this man for speaking? Would they have shot him, if they thought they needed to?

If there were any justice, these cops who chased after the citizen would be brought up on federal civil rights charges.

Does anyone still think that America is a free country? Is anyone confused about what the police have become?

And, yes, f- the Mayor, and the police along with it.

Douglass said...

As Ron Paul says, "we don't have free speech so we can talk about the weather." Free speech means that you can say things that are controversial and not be arrested for it.

Paul K. Ogden said...

I don't wish harm on the police officer, but Cato is right. Resisting arrest is a secondary charge not a primary one. A lot of police officers though don't understand this.

Advance Indiana said...

The cop who got hit by the bus might have a political career ahead of him. A trip down memory lane:

"Richard Elrod, the son of 24th Ward Democratic boss Arthur X. Elrod, narrowly defeated the qualified Under Sheriff Bernard Carey, a low-key former F.B.I. agent, in the 1970 election. As a City of Chicago corporation counsel assigned to the Police Department, Elrod was involved in a tragic mishap with a street demonstrator. It occurred while dispensing legal advice to Chicago Police officers assigned to riot duty during the 1969 "Days of Rage." Elrod attempted to tackle a youthful protester resulting in a paralyzing neck injury and life-long disability for his troubles. The sympathy and publicity surrounding this unfortunate encounter undoubtedly helped thrust Elrod over the top in a closely contested race with Republican Bernie Carey."

Septly said...

If all the man truly did was yell "f-- you," then he certainly had a First Amendment right to do so. He should sue the city for violating his free speech rights.

However, contrary to what Cato posts, it is illegal to resist even an unlawful arrest in all states (including Illinois), and this has been true long before the recent Indiana Supreme Court ruling about warrantless home entry (which, by the way, is inapplicable to this story since (A) it happened in Illinois, and (B) it does not involve entry into a person's home).

As for his wishing that someone were seriously harmed, well that is certainly an ugly and shameful attitude to have. If you are a believer, it is un-Christian (and also un-Jewish, un-Muslim, etc.), and if you are not, it is simply uncivilized and indecent.

Setting the childishness of certain poster's aside, the real issue is that this man, like all of us, posssesses a First Amendment right to speak his mind at a public event. Now, whether the man SHOULD have shouted what he did is another issue entirely. Just because you can do something, doesn't mean you should. However, that decision should be left up to an individual's personal judgment and conscience, and not determined by the police.

Septly said...

There most certainly is a crime for resisting arrest, even in cases where the arrest itself is illegal. Illinois law clearly makes resisting even an unlawful arrest illegal (as does Indiana's law for that matter).

I am not debating whether I agree or disagree with the law (though, I understand the public policy of trying to prevent violent confrontations with the police). However, the law is the law, whether Cato or anyone else disagrees with it.

That said, if all the man did was yell "F--k the Mayor," then he most certainly had a First Amendment right to do so. Whether he SHOULD have done what he did is another matter, but that is a decision that our Constitution leaves up to an individual's conscience and personal judgment, not to police discretion. The man should sue the city for violating his free speech rights.

As for Cato's desire for the officer to be harmed, all I can say is that is a very ugly and pathetic wish to state. If you are a believer, it is un-Christian (or un-Jewish, un-Muslim, etc.), and if you are not, it is simply uncivilized and indecent. It is never appropriate to wish physical harm on another human being.

Moving beyond the childishness of some of the posts on this blog, I hope the focus stays on the fact that no government body, including the City of Chicago, may unlawfully limit the free speech rights of an individual, and when such a violation occurs, such an aggrieved individual should seek legal redress.

Cato said...

If there is no underlying crime, then there is no crime for resisting arrest for an imaginary crime.

Any cop who would attempt to arrest someone from political speech is filth, and I would have held a party if the bus would have flattened him.

If we want to get our freedom back, we have to knock these cops down to size.

Cato said...

Septly, suing is no remedy. If we want a free country, the cop needs to back down at the scene when a citizen dismisses him. Freedom is found wherever we are, not after reams of legal pleadings in biased courts.

If a cop isn't ready to back down so the citizen can go home at night, the cop is dangerous to Freedom and doesn't deserve our money, his job or our respect.

SW Lane said...

You really are a sick waste of oxygen, Cato.

The police serve everyone in the community, regardless of political or philosophical affiliation. Your anti-police screeching is thus hate your government also. It's your right, but instead of launching immature, vitriolic attacks, I ask you:

What have you done to change the things/conditions that bother you? Have you ran for office ? Supported a candidate who supports your views? Or is it easier to bitch and complain in the psychotic manner you evince?

Septly said...

Cato, I just feel sorry for you.

It must be hard to go through life filled with all that venom and bile. Not to mention, it must be slowly eating you up from the inside. My prediction is that in 10-15 years, you will drop dead from a heart attack or an aneurysm, if you don't change your attitude. I do think that would be unfortunate, and for your sake (not mine or anyone else's sake) you should rethink your attitude.

You can be angry and passionate about an issue without being violent and mean. You will also find that thinking with a clearer head generally allows you to more effectively bring about change.