Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Is Someone Trying To Send Carlos May A Message?

Carlos May's 7th District congressional campaign against incumbent U.S. Rep. Andre Carson had originally planned to host a birthday party in his honor at JT's Bar & Grille on East 54th Street last night. Due to a scheduling conflict, the event got rescheduled. A supporter of May showed up at JT's last night and was asked by the management of the bar what to do with a wrapped package that had been delivered to the establishment for May. After examining the package, the campaign supporter found it to be suspicious and called to report it to the police. IMPD Officer Ted Cragen responded to the call. When the package was opened, a bouquet of dead flowers was found inside it without any note indicating who the sender was. Officer Cragen filed a threat report (DP12096219). I wondered whether sending someone a bouquet of dead flowers is viewed as a threat or protected free speech. According to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, it's protected free speech. In Holley v. County of Orange, a 69-year old mother became angry with her son's probation officer when his probation was revoked by the court. Mother left a bouquet of dead flowers on a desk in the probation office with a note reading, "Thinking of you, your 'HELP' will be long remembered." The mother was arrested for menacing, a criminal statute which made it illegal to intentionally place another person in fear of physical injury or death. The mother was allowed to recover damages against the County of Orange, New York for violating her First (free speech) and Fourth Amendment (lack of probable cause) rights. According to one of May's campaign volunteers, this is not the first time May or a member of his family has felt threatened because of his political activities. May, incidentally, was not aware the package had been sent to him at JT's when police were called last night to investigate.

1 comment:

artfuggins said...

I know nothing of the legality but it is tacky. May has little or no chance of winning so there is no need to do this if it was done by a Dem. May barely won the primary so perhaps it might have been a disgruntled Repub.