A First Amendment battle has erupted over an Army veteran’s campaign to hold “God Bless the Homeless Vets” signs to raise awareness of homelessness among those who served in the nation’s military.
And it likely will have to be resolved in court.
Actually more than one court, as the Foundation for Individual Rights and Express announced it has filed, already, two lawsuits on behalf of Jeff Gray, a U.S. Army veteran and retired truck driver.
It’s because he “has been repeatedly stopped, detained, searched, and arrested by the police. His alleged crime? Holding signs — in front of city halls across the United States.”
The cases, based on the First Amendment’s right to speak outside government buildings, so far are against Alpharetta, Georgia, and two police officers, and against the police chief in Blackshear, Georgia, FIRE reported.
“I have been harassed, trespassed, handcuffed and arrested countless times for peacefully exercising my First Amendment rights,” Gray explained in the announcement made by FIRE. “My intention is to ensure that all Americans from the wealthiest millionaire to the poorest homeless person can exercise these rights without fear of consequence from our government.”
LAWSUIT: U.S. Army Veteran Jeff Gray has been repeatedly stopped, detained, searched, and arrested by police.
His alleged crime? Holding signs — in front of city halls across Georgia.
Yesterday, FIRE sued on his behalf.https://t.co/7eM7ORMpT3
— FIRE (@TheFIREorg) February 1, 2023
The circumstances that triggered the cases include that he was arrested for “panhandling” while peacefully holding a sign, he was cited for “not getting a government permit to express his viewpoints,” and more.
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The FIRE report explained, “In January 2022, Gray stood on a public sidewalk outside of Alpharetta City Hall holding a sign reading ‘God Bless the Homeless Vets’ to raise awareness of the plight of homeless veterans and, with his own camera rolling, to see how the public and police react.”
The result was “Alpharetta police told Gray he was engaging in illegal ‘panhandling’ and threatened arrest if he didn’t stop. Gray explained that he wasn’t asking others for money and that, regardless, asking others for money is speech protected by the First Amendment,” the report said.
Further, police commandeered his video camera, demanded his identification and banned him from the area.
“If this is how Alpharetta police treat a guy with a camera, how do they act the rest of the time?” said FIRE attorney Adam Steinbaugh. “The First Amendment protects the right to hold up a sign — and it certainly protects the right to film police activity in a public space.”
In Blackshear, the police chief ordered Gray to get a “permit” for a “parade, procession, or demonstration” in order to hold his message on a sign.
“Jeff Gray doesn’t need a government-issued permission slip to speak – the First Amendment is his permission slip,” said FIRE attorney Harrison Rosenthal. “Speaking out in public areas is a core First Amendment right, whether government officials recognize it or not. If our cities won’t teach officers to do their job properly, FIRE will.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: What is behind the current war against America’s children? Why are so many adults killing their unborn children right up to the moment of birth, or even after? Why are millions of kids sexualized virtually from birth, and injected with an experimental “vaccine” proven to be both ineffective and dangerous, then as toddlers transported to events glorifying mentally ill, demonically possessed men dressed as women?
Why are America’s children systematically sexualized at school, and by transgender recruiters on social media platforms like TikTok, seducing many into “identifying” as the opposite gender, or a brand-new imaginary gender, then encouraged to take powerful drugs and hormones and have their healthy breasts amputated or undergo chemical or surgical castration?
Why are our children simultaneously indoctrinated with toxic Marxist ideologies like “critical race theory” intended to condition them to hate and reject their own country, parents, faith, race, gender and themselves? Why are they simultaneously being frightened of the future by being fed lurid, terrifying – and groundless – apocalyptic tales of the imminent destruction of the world due to global warming?
No wonder youth suicides have skyrocketed, as have depression, anxiety, addiction and drug overdoses. Indeed, fentanyl, the No. 1 cause of death of younger Americans 18 to 45, destroys multitudes of children annually.
Make no mistake: The harm being done to America’s children in this multi-front war is not accidental: Children are the primary target.
WHY? How can all this be happening in the greatest nation on earth? Who and what is behind it? And HOW CAN IT BE STOPPED?
Find out in the explosive January issue of WND’s critically acclaimed monthly Whistleblower magazine, “WINNING THE WAR AGAINST AMERICA’S CHILDREN,” available in both print and state-of-the-art digital editions.
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This article was originally published by the WND News Center.