Calling the ACLU -- KUAR | Arkansas Blog

Calling the ACLU -- KUAR

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[image-1]Rod Bryan, the independent candidate for governor in 2006, believes in free speech. Unfortunately for him, the authorities don't have a similar respect for the Bill of Rights.

You may remember that Bryan was excluded from a televised gubernatorial debate at ASU in 2006. Minor candidates were not allowed.

Today, Bryan got to speak his piece. But it got him in trouble with the LRPD.

Bryan was bicycling to work at his job at the Boulevard Bread outlet in the River Market. He'd just crested the long hill on Seventh Street west of the Capitol when a pair of police cruisers roared by at what he estimated at 80 mph. He said they weren't running flashing lights or sirens. As they zipped past, Bryan shouted, "Turn on your lights."

One of the patrol cars promptly screeched to a halt and the officer jumped out to brace Bryan, demanding to know what he'd said. "Turn on your lights," he repeated. A long, heated conversation ensued. Bryan wasn't about to apologize. The cop, who called in multiple units as backup, wasn't about to say he might have overreacted.

End of story: Bryan received a citation for disorderly conduct. I'll be surprised if Judge Lee Munson decides this clearly protected speech amounts to disorderly conduct, but you never know. It's a shame Bryan will have to take the morning off from bakery duties to appear in court in defense of the First Amendment. Any willing lawyers out there?

UPDATE: 1) A noted defender of civil liberties called and volunteered to help Rod. We've put them in touch. 2) Ron Breeding is all over this for KUAR like a duck on a june bug -- or a cop on Rod Bryan. KUAR has police report, taped interviews, photos, etc., and this nice detail from the cops -- Bryan seems to have been charged for exhibiting "dislike" for how law enforcers do their job. Can't have that in these United States.

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