Win for Free Speech in Eastpointe, Michigan, and Annual ‘First Amendment Day’ Established

When Ms. Mouradjian, an animal rights activist, stood up for the right of the others to speak, Ms. Owens yelled that Ms. Mouradjian “could talk about your cats and dogs” but “won’t talk about me!”

According to FIRE, it was not the first time the mayor violated free speech rights of Eastpointe residents. In March 2022, for example, Ms. Owens forced Ms. Federle to halt her critical remarks and told her to remove references to Ms. Owens.

However, Ms. Owens had no issue with other residents praising her as “beautiful” and “wonderful” in meetings, according to FIRE.

In the lawsuit resolution, the City of Eastpointe entered into a consent decree prohibiting the city from enforcing an unconstitutional limitation on public comments “directed at” an elected official and requiring it to allow members of the public to criticize its elected officials.

In the settlement, Eastpointe also agreed to establish Sept. 6 as an annual “First Amendment Day” in the city and passed a resolution apologizing to the plaintiffs.

Eastpointe also agreed to pay each plaintiff $17,910, plus attorneys’ fees, for a total of $83,000.The $17,910 represents the year of the First Amendment’s ratification in 1791.

“I am pleased with FIRE’s diligence and ability to keep moving forward,” said Ms. Hall-Rayford in prepared remarks. “I hope the city will do the same, now that everyone is aware of the consequences for violating the First Amendment. I applaud FIRE’s efforts to keep up the good fight with others, as they did for me.”

“The First Amendment protects every American’s right to criticize government officials,” said Mr. Fitzpatrick. “With this settlement, Eastpointers can have confidence their voices will be heard and local governments can be left with no doubt there are serious consequences for violating the First Amendment.”

Now residents of Eastpointe have their First Amendment Day, the day Ms. Owens, in one instance, violated the plaintiffs’ rights.

Original News Source Link – Epoch Times

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