As the constant abuses and overstepping of the U.S. Constitution continue to run rampant under the current administration, it appears that just about anyone is willing to hop on that bandwagon so long as it is allowed. Most recently, one man who spoke out against his local police department was promptly arrested and charged.
The entire incident began on July 20, 2012 when the Village of Arena police department posted this Facebook status:
We would like to thank the citizens … that assisted the Arena Police Department in attempting to locate two out-of-state juvenile males. The juveniles ran from a Sharon Street address after an officer attempted to make contact with them…. The same two males along with a third local juvenile male were also arrested later the same evening for burglary of a business…. Two of the males were detained by residents until law enforcement arrived, the third male was located and arrested a short time later….
Of course, as the last time we checked it was a free country and people had the right to say whatever they pleased, emotions were mixed on the matter, and fellow Facebook users took to expressing both their support and outrage. It wasn’t long before this post made it to the list of responses:
Thanks for searching my house and accusing me of harboring so called dangerous fugitives … and since when is it ok for a resident to point a gun at a couple [o]f KID’S [sic] heads? If that was anyone else’s kids pretty sure it would be a big deal. Oh wait though, they were black so [i]t’s ok. Thanks to everyone that made our town look like nothing but a racist, prejudice[d] place to live. I’m embarrassed to say I’m part of that kind of community. If I were black I’d run too.
And don’t anybody say it isn’t about race because it is when I ask the cop specifically what they look like and his response is they will stand out because they don’t belong here[.]
Sooo happy I left that town.
Good thing the s[c]enario didn’t go down in my hood it would have ended a lot differently … bang sheee bang[.]
Relatively well tempered given the circumstance, right? Well, Thomas Smith decided to take it one step further and decided to write this little doozy on the police department’s wall:
Fuck the fucking cops they ant shit but fucking racist basturds an fucking all of y’all who is racist[.]
Fuck them n***** policy bitchs wat the you got on us not a darn thing so fuck off dicks[.]
Needless to say, Smith soon had a knock at the door where he was subsequently placed in handcuffs and charged with “disorderly conduct” and “unlawful use of a computerized communication system.” He was then convicted by a jury of his peers and started to gain quite a bit of attention before he ultimately filed an appeal.
The case was eventually overturned because of the publicity it was receiving and that the judge couldn’t find anywhere in the text that indicated a threat was made. According to the case, State v. Smith :
The State argues that the comments are not protected speech because they are “fighting words.” The State does not persuade me that Smith’s comments can reasonably be construed as fighting words. And, the State’s briefing provides no other basis on which to uphold Smith’s convictions. Accordingly, I reverse and remand for the circuit court to vacate the judgment and dismiss the charges against Smith….
Apparently now even “fighting words” are now considered a serious offense even when simply voicing your opinion. What do you guys think – did these police take it a bit too far? Let us know your thoughts on the whole ordeal in the comments below.