Saturday, October 29, 2011

I know! Let's arrest Melissa! II

As many of you know, activist Melissa Hill was arrested for trespassing while standing in a public area of the Government Center Plaza several days ago. My post about that was based on reading about the incident in City Pages.

Now, Grace Kelly at Minnesota Progressive Project has a post with some follow up, including some remarks by Hill.

The basis for Hill's arrest was the edict (called a "no trespass notice") by a security officer at the Government Center Plaza some days earlier requiring that Hill should go away and not come back for a year. Her offense that precipitated that order? Chalking a wall. Except that she was never charged, much less convicted.

Even if she had been charged and convicted in a court, telling someone that she is deprived of her civil rights of petition and assembly on government property for a petty misdemeanor would never survive a constitutional challenge.

When it's ordered by an underling of Sheriff Stanek, it's entirely outrageous. The "trespass notice" was patently illegal and unconstitutional, and the arrest based on it was also illegal.

The whole affair is authoritarian bullshit, like the Sheriff of Nottingham telling Robin Hood to stay out of town.

I put in a call to the sheriff's mouthpiece to try to get some justification for the "trespass notice" and the arrest, but that call has never been returned.

Update: Be sure to read the comments to this post. (I'm a little hard on the Stoo; he asks good questions, but I think he's wrong.)

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