Indianapolis Council Rejects Ferguson-inspired Sign ban
Indianapolis Council Rejects Ferguson-inspired Sign ban
By Brian Eason / indystar.com
Dec 3, 2014

"Hands up, don't shoot" — the rallying cry of police protesters 250 miles away in Ferguson, Mo. — has become an unlikely symbol of free speech in Indianapolis.

The City-County Council on Monday soundly defeated a proposal that would have banned signs from the council dais, with opponents characterizing the sign ban as a unwarranted attack on the First Amendment.

Republican Councilman Jack Sandlin authored the ordinance in response to placards that five council members displayed at their seats during the Aug. 18 council meeting. The signs depicted a black man with his arms raised beneath the slogan "hands up... don't shoot!"

The phrase has become a symbol of the ongoing unrest in Ferguson, where a police officer shot a black 18-year-old, Michael Brown, while some witnesses said his hands were raised in surrender. A grand jury last month voted not to indict officer Darren Wilson, who said he acted in self-defense against a charging Brown.

The council's vote Monday was 20-8 in opposition, after emerging from committee with a recommendation against passage.

Sandlin said the sign was disrespectful to police, saying that some residents and city employees complained that they found the signs offensive.

His colleagues, though, scoffed at the explanation. Democratic Councilman William Oliver asked the council's attorney for a legal opinion on what is "offensive." Councilman Monroe Gray, a Democrat who displayed one of the signs in August, countered that he didn't find the signs "to be any more offensive" than some of the votes Sandlin had taken that evening.

Sandlin, though, insisted that he wasn't trying to stifle free speech. His colleagues would still be free to speak their mind, he said, but the council should have guidelines for how they express themselves.

"I still think it's important for us to have some sort of rules of decorum," Sandlin said. "This proposal in no way attempted to restrict someone's First Amendment rights."

At the end of the day, free speech concerns won out.

"Our country was founded by a bunch of crazy people standing up on soap boxes," said Republican Councilman Robert Lutz. "I don't think we should approve anything that limits our thoughts."

0.0 ·
0
Featured Pay Per View Films
Generation Revolution (2017)
72 min
A Quest for Meaning (2017)(Free till Jan 29th)
88 min
Fall and Winter (2013)
102 min
Trending Today
Samantha Bee Weighs in on Aziz Ansari and the #MeToo Backlash and It's Very On Point
8 min24,177 views today ·
The Invention of Capitalism: How a Self-Sufficient Peasantry was Whipped Into Industrial Wage Slaves
Yasha Levine14,745 views today ·
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min2,515 views today ·
A Quest for Meaning (2017)(Free till Jan 29th)
88 min2,329 views today ·
Paramedic's Response to "Burger Flippers" Making an Equal $15/Hour is Beautiful
Craig Carilli1,466 views today ·
Averting the Apocalypse: Lessons From Costa Rica
Jason Hickel1,452 views today ·
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley1,188 views today ·
The Failings of the American Left with Charles Derber
24 min829 views today ·
Newbury Protests - 20 Years On
12 min794 views today ·
Load More


Love Films For Action? 

It's hard to rely 100% on ads to keep our organization going.
If you get some value from this library, consider making a donation today.

Support us on Patreon

Coming soon! We're days away from launching a Patreon campaign! We hope you'll be among the first to support this new direction for Films For Action. The goal is to go 100% ad-free by next year, and become 100% member supported!

Join us on Facebook
Indianapolis Council Rejects Ferguson-inspired Sign ban