Suit over decal citation soon may be settled
"Denise Grier told the world that she was tired of the BUSHIT, but the controversy her bumper sticker stirred more than a year ago continues for the Athens woman who alleges a police officer wrongly ticketed her for a decal that she sees as a political statement.
The registered nurse may see the end of the legal battle soon; both sides in a federal lawsuit have asked a judge to rule without sending the case to a jury.
In March 2006, DeKalb County police Sgt. R.S. Caviness stopped Grier's car and wrote her a $100 ticket for a sticker that read, "I'm Tired Of All The BUSHIT."
Although a DeKalb County judge later dropped the ticket, Grier sued in federal court, alleging the officer cited her for political reasons and that the county failed to instruct its officers that the lewd decal law was declared unconstitutional by the Georgia Supreme Court in 1991."
Imagine that. Cops not knowing the law. I'm shocked.
"The officer not only violated her First Amendment rights, the lawsuit argues, but also her constitutional protection against unreasonable searches and seizures, by forcing her to stop even though she hadn't broken any laws.
After working for a year to interview witnesses and study the issues of the case, both sides asked a judge to decide. DeKalb County wants the case dismissed, but Grier wants the judge to decide legal issues of the case and let a jury set a settlement.
"If we win, the remaining issue - how much in damages (Grier) is entitled to - would be for a jury to decide," said Ralph Goldberg, a private Decatur attorney who is assisting the American Civil Liberties Union.
The lawsuit asks for a judge to declare that Grier's anti-Bush bumper sticker is protected free speech because Grier "is uncertain and insecure regarding her right to display her bumper sticker in DeKalb County."
The lawsuit also asks for an unspecified amount of damages because Caviness acted "with reckless disregard" of Grier's rights.
Both sides in the dispute have dug in their heels without finding a settlement.
Attorneys for the county grilled Grier for more than two hours when taking her deposition.
She told attorneys that when Caviness said he'd stopped her for a lewd decal, she thought one of her sons might have put a sticker on her car without her knowing.
"And when he told me which one it was, I kinda laughed," according to a transcript of Grier's deposition. "And I said, I mean I'm not entirely sure what I said, but I think it was something to the extent of, you're kidding me.
"The police officer told me that I was trying to cuss. And I said no, it's a political statement. He said something about children seeing the bumper sticker. And he said something about DeKalb having a law against lewd decals."
Defense attorneys pressed Grier on her contention the traffic stop was motivated by his political views.
"I again said it was a political statement, so he said, 'what exactly were you trying to say?' I said I'm trying to say that I'm not pleased with President Bush's handling," Grier responded.
"And he said again, 'What you're trying to say is ...' and at that point he had his finger in my face and saying, 'What you were trying to say ma'am,' and at that point I just put my hands up like this and said just stop. If you're going to give me a ticket, go ahead and write me a ticket, but I'm not going to discuss this with you here and now."
In all fairness it should be known that Ms Grier is a moonbat extraordinaire but we do have to stick up for them as well. Liberty and Freedom can only exist when all views are allowed a certain degree of expression. Simply because you MIGHT yell "FIRE" in a crowded theater is no reason to ban free speech any more than stopping law abiding citizens from owning firearms is a good plan because they MIGHT use them badly.