The First Amendment does not protect members of the public who insult their city council

The First Amendment Center reports:

A federal judge in Missouri has rejected the First Amendment claims of a man removed from Kirkwood City Council meetings for “repetitive, personal, virulent attacks” against council members.

Charles Lee Thornton had sued the city of Kirkwood after he was arrested twice and later convicted for disorderly conduct at two council meetings in 2006.

In May 2006, Thornton had the opportunity to speak during the public-comment portion of a council meeting that addressed the expansion of two businesses — a funeral home and a senior living facility. During the time reserved to discuss the funeral home, Thornton rose to speak about what he alleged was personal harassment of him by city officials, not the expansion of the business. He displayed a large poster with a picture of a donkey and made intemperate remarks about the mayor. Thornton then warned the funeral home owner that the city had a “plantation-mentality” and “jackass-like qualities.”

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