Lebanon Reporter

Local News

October 3, 2012

Local veteran challenges protest policy

Indianapolis —  

Eric Smith is a disabled war veteran who decided to protest the United States’ involvement with a global arms-trade treaty by standing on the steps of Indiana’s most famous war monument with protest signs in hand and his 10-year-old son at his side.

But because Smith didn’t have a permit to do so, he wasn’t there long before he was told to leave or risk being arrested.

That incident, which took place in July on the steps of the soaring Soldiers and Sailors Monument in downtown Indianapolis, is now at the center of a civil liberties lawsuit that challenges the permit policies of the Indiana War Memorials Commission.

On Monday, the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana filed a lawsuit on Smith’s behalf against the commission, which oversees the state’s public war memorials including the much-visited memorial on Monument Circle.

The lawsuit alleges Smith’s First Amendment right to protest was violated with the threat of arrest. The ACLU said it’s challenging the commission’s policy “requiring a permit for even small numbers of people to engage in expressive activity on state property.”

“Hundreds of thousands of individuals visit Monument Circle every year,” said ACLU Executive Director Jane Henegar, in a press release. “Requiring every single person, much less a veteran who has fought to protect our liberties, to apply for a permit to carry a protest sign is an unnecessary burden on the First Amendment.”

Smith, who suffered injuries during the Iraq War, including the loss of vision in one eye, views it that way too. He said he wasn’t with a crowd of protesters, wasn’t being disruptive, or blocking any entrances or exits to the structure. He was armed with signs bearing messages that contained his opposition to a United Nations’ arms-trade treaty that he said wasn’t getting enough media attention.

Text Only
Local News

Featured items
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide