Calling the ACLU | Arkansas Blog

Monday, October 20, 2008

Calling the ACLU

Posted By on Mon, Oct 20, 2008 at 9:30 AM

The Searcy police arrested Brian Barnett, a Green Party candidate for legislature, last week because he stood on a street corner with a sign saying his Democratic and Republican opponents were "chicken shit" for refusing to debate him. The Searcy newspaper account indicates the cops need a little First Amendment instruction:

At 11:37 a.m., Searcy Patrolman Tyrel Johnson arrived and spoke to Barnett about the sign.

“You can probably get away with saying he’s chicken, but since he’s an alderman and a member of the city council, you can’t,” Johnson told Barnett. “That word is not acceptable.”

Barnett explained the sign to Johnson, saying it was designed to call attention to the refusal of Reeves and Betts to debate him.

“When you call someone chicken s*** that means they’re scared,” Barnett said.

When Sergeant Tom McGee arrived, the three went next door to a tire shop and Barnett could be heard offering to change the sign. Within minutes, however, Barnett was arrested, charged with disorderly conduct, apparently for refusing to obey an officer.

“I asked him on four occasions to remove those letters from that sign,” McGee said. “He did remove the ‘i’ but I asked him to remove the entire word."

Wonder if the cops are seizing copies of the Daily Citizen that didn't bleep out all four letters of the word?


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