Louisiana Driver Wanting to Fly Vulgar Anti-Biden Flag Sues Town
A Louisiana man has been ticketed several times for flying flags from his truck deemed vulgar and offensive. Ross Brunet of Cut Off, Louisiana is now suing the town of Grand Isle, claiming the resort town is "trying to supress free speech with an ordinance aimed at stopping a contractor from flying flags emblazoned with vulgar insults aimed at President Joe Biden."
Brunet, who lives in Cut Off but works in Grand Isle, regularly flies three flags from his truck, one promoting breast cancer awareness, and two bearing vulgarities aimed at Biden and people who voted for him. Brunet has been ticketed 7 times for flying the vulgar flags. He actually defended himself, successfully, against 4 of the tickets. But despite those successes, he was still ticketed another 3 times. Those last 3 cases were dropped after the town adopted an ordinance stating that signs on vehicles “shall not contain language deemed offensive and vulgar nor obscene in nature and cannot contain language that describes a sex act."
According to the AP story on BRProud.com, Brunet is being represented in the law suit by the Tulane First Amendment Law Clinic. Attorney Katie Schwartzmann said Brunet was told he would be prosecuted under the new law.
“Speech that is offensive, vulgar or that references a sex act is protected by the United States Constitution,” the lawsuit states, adding, “Indeed, core political speech is often offensive to the listener, and yet is a highly protected form of speech.” Katie Schwartzmann
The lawsuit also claims Brunet was unconstitutionally detained when he was stopped and ticketed for flying the flags.
“Mr. Brunet’s speech has in fact been chilled,” according to the lawsuit. “He is fearful of and refrains from engaging in his protected political speech in Grand Isle, out of fear of government punishment or further retaliatory action.”
Grand Isle Mayor David Camardelle, the police chief, the officer issueing the citations, the town attorney, and a Grand Isle magistrate judge are all listed as defendants in the lawsuit.
Brunet is seeking unspecified amount of damages, and a court declaration that he was protected under free speech laws when he flew his flags.
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