Bible Believers v. Wayne Cnty.

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Dearborn hosted the Arab International Festival from 1995 until 2012, welcoming roughly 250,000 people with carnival attractions, entertainment, and international food. The 2012 Festival had 85 vendors, information tables, and booths, including several affiliated with Christian and other groups. Bible Believers attended the 2011 Festival, bearing “Christian signs, banners, and t-shirts” that provoked confrontations. Preparing for the 2012 Festival, their attorney wrote a letter, asserting that the sheriff sided with “the violent Muslims,” that “officers have a duty to protect speakers … from … hostile audiences,” and demanding protection. Counsel responded, stating that the sheriff “owes a duty to the public as a whole and is not required to serve as a security force for the sole benefit of … Believers … cannot protect everyone from the foreseeable consequences that come from speech that is designed and perhaps intended to elicit a potentially negative reaction.” The sheriff claims to have allocated more personnel to the Festival than to “the World Series or the President of the United States.” At the 2012 Festival, Believers displayed messages including “Islam Is A Religion of Blood and Murder.” One carried a severed pig’s head on a stick; others preached, using a megaphone, referring to a “pedophile” prophet. The crowd yelled, threw debris, and shoved a Believer to the ground. Officers detained debris-throwers and attempted to quell the crowd. As the confrontation intensified, Believers continued to preach. Officers reiterated safety concerns. Officers escorted the Believers out. In a suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983, the court granted summary judgment in favor of the county defendants. Finding no constitutional violations, it did not address qualified immunity. The Sixth Circuit affirmed, reasoning that the plan for Festival security was content-neutral and that the Believers were not treated differently than the counter-protestors. View "Bible Believers v. Wayne Cnty. " on Justia Law