The Cedar Rapids Police Department said in a statement to KCRG-TV9 it believes officers acted appropriately after responding to a neo-Nazi group hanging anti-Semitic signs earlier in November. Over the last seven days, more than 1.8 million people saw a police officer’s body camera footage from the incident on Tik Tok and Reddit. The video shows another woman confronting officers and then trying to tear down signs, which say “Money runs the world and Jews own the banks. The truth is anti-Semitic” and “The Holocaust didn’t happen, but it should have”, over an Interstate 380 overpass on Wilson Avenue SW in Cedar Rapids. According to the video, the two men guarding the sign have masks, declined to give their identity to the police, and attempted to film any interactions with police or other bystanders with a GoPro attached to one person’s head. The woman, who also doesn’t give her name in the video, along with commenters online, expressed frustration with police officers because they didn’t immediately take down the sign. “Take it down,” she told an officer after trying to tear down the sign. “You know for a fact our community is being hurt by this.” Mike Battien, who is a public safety communications specialist for the city of Cedar Rapids, said in an email the masked individuals denied ownership of the sign after they were told they would be cited because they were displayed unlawfully. He wrote the signs were then deemed abandoned property and removed. “The video was reviewed from a legal perspective and confirms officers acted appropriately in all aspects,” Battien wrote, in an email. Richard Garnett, who is a professor of law at the University of Norte Dame, said offensive and hurtful speech is protected unless it falls within a few narrowly defined expectations like a “true threat” in an email. He said, based on the video, it is unlikely the expression falls into an unprotected category even though it is undeniably offensive. Mark Stringer, who is the executive director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa, reiterated a similar stance to Garnett. He said the first amendment protects even the most offensive and hateful speech from viewpoint and content-based government restrictions like the vile statements on the group’s sign.

via kcrg: Neo-Nazi group using first amendment protections to spread hate messages in Eastern Iowa

Categories: Rechtsextremismus