LOS ANGELES (CN) – Los Angeles and its Parks Commission violated a man’s civil rights by arresting him and throwing him out of a public meeting for wearing an offensive T-shirt, the man claims in court.
Michael Hunt sued Los Angeles, its Board of Recreation and Parks Commission and its President Barry Sanders, in Federal Court.
Hunt, a self-described “political activist,” claims Sanders had him tossed from a meeting in September 2011 for wearing a T-shirt that said: “Fuck White Niggar Too.”
Hunt claims he was at the meeting in Harbor City to challenge an amended law against vending on the Venice Beach boardwalk.
Hunt claims he wore a T-shirt “bearing a political message,” and had not had a chance to speak when Sanders told him to leave.
“Two uniformed police officers immediately confronted plaintiff, took hold of him and expelled him from the public meeting. Plaintiff was prevented from returning to the public meeting and was not allowed to speak and address the board on a matter of public interest which plaintiff had intended to address in his public comments,” the complaint states.
Hunt says he was cited for disturbing the meeting and violating the city’s rules of decorum.
Hunt claims he appeared in court but no charges were filed against him.
He claims the city’s rules of decorum at public meetings – including a ban on signs, placards or banners – are “vague and ambiguous,” and violate his speech rights.
Hunt successfully challengedanother version of the vendor’s ordinance last year at the 9th Circuit, according to the complaint.
He suedthe city after he was arrested as an unlawful vendor for hawking homemade shea butter with alleged “healing properties” on the boardwalk.
Hunt is represented by Stephen Rohde, with Rohde & Victoroff.
He seeks declaratory judgment that the city’s rules are unconstitutional, and unspecified damages.
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