GAINESVILLE ACTIVIST WINS SUIT - Mitch Perry
The ACLU today announced the settlement of a lawsuit filed on behalf of longtime political activist Charles Ã¢â¬ÅChasÃ¢â¬? Chiodo, of Gainesville who was arrested on obscenity charges for carrying an anti-war sign during a protest near a busy street corner in downtown Gainesville last May.
The Gainesville City Commission agreed to pay $16, 600 to Chiodo for damages and attorney fees.
Becky Steele is the Director of the ACLUÃ¢â¬â¢s West Central Office in FloridaÃ¢â¬Â¦She explains what Mr. Chiodo was doing when he was arrested (roll tape#1 o.q.Ã¢â¬?rear endÃ¢â¬?)
At that juncture, a police sergeant approached Chiodo and demanded that he put the sign away because it was Ã¢â¬ÅoffensiveÃ¢â¬? and he saw children glancing at the sign as they passed the demonstration. When Chiodo refused to put down the sign, which includes the phrases Ã¢â¬ÅBush LoyalistsÃ¢â¬? and Ã¢â¬ÅQuestion Authority,Ã¢â¬? he was arrested and charged with Ã¢â¬Åexposing minors to obscene material.Ã¢â¬? He was then taken to the county jail and labeled a sex offender. Chiodo was released the following day and the charges were eventually dropped.
The ACLU of Florida then filed a civil lawsuit against the police department and the officer who arrested Chiodo for violating his First Amendment rights.
In addition to settling the lawsuit, the City of Gainesville has created a formal policy on handling arrests for allegedly obscene material Ã¢â¬Â¦The ACLUÃ¢â¬â¢s Becky Steele explains (roll tape#2 o.q.Ã¢â¬?move on from thereÃ¢â¬?)
To learn more about this case, you can go to the web at aclufl.orgcomments powered by Disqus