A judge in Seattle has canceled a restraining order that had been imposed against a street preacher who was targeted by an unidentified critic.
Officials Pacific Justice Institute say they represented Matthew Meinecke in the case in King County district court, where a judge, reviewing the evidence, confirmed he found no evidence to support the allegations that had been made against Meinecker in an “anti-harassment” order.
“The freedoms afforded citizens under the First Amendment and the Washington Constitution have been upheld, and justice prevailed,” said Tracy Tribbett, a PJI lawyer in Seattle, explained.
“In the fight against censorship, these victories at the civil level between private individuals are an important safeguard against the cancel culture that has infiltrated traditional public forums. PJI is committed to ensuring that voices are heard and freedoms are ensured.”
Meinecke is an evangelist who travels across the country and preaches on public sidewalks in various cities.
He was targeted in Seattle with an order forbidding him from returning to the public forums where he regularly spoke around downtown Seattle.
PJI explained it was the “manager of a T-shirt shop in downtown Seattle” who complained, and eventually obtained an order against Meinecke, demanding he remain 1,000 feet away. The shop owner had claimed that Meinecke’s speech “made the manager ‘exhausted’ and ‘residually angry,'” the PJI reported.
Tribbett explained to the court that the restraining order violated precedent and that the court must examine free speech rights under not only the U.S. Constitution but also the Washington Constitution which affords even stronger free speech protections.
“This censorship is one of the most shocking examples of how First Amendment rights are robbed from individuals peacefully spreading the Gospel. PJI is honored to defend and achieve victories in court for evangelists who preach freely even on the darkest of corners,” said PJI chief Brad Dacus.
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