‘I have been harassed, trespassed, handcuffed and arrested countless times’
By Kate Anderson
Daily Caller News Foundation
- Jeff Gray, a former U.S. Army veteran, filed two lawsuits with Freedom for Individual Rights and Expression after being arrested for holding a sign outside of government buildings that says “God Bless the Homeless Vets.”
- During one of the incidents listed in the lawsuit, officers arrested Gray, turned off his camera and performed a search after “witnesses” said the veteran had been asking for money.
- “If the First Amendment means anything, it must mean that you can hold a sign in front of city hall without being handcuffed,” Adam Steinbaugh, FIRE attorney, told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
The Freedom for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE) filed two lawsuits on behalf of Jeff Gray, a U.S. Army veteran, after he was arrested and issued a criminal citation for holding a sign saying “God Bless The Homeless Vets” outside of two different government buildings in Georgia.
Gray stood on a public sidewalk by Alpharetta City Hall with his sign and again at Blackshear City Council and both times, police officers told Gray that he was not allowed to be outside government buildings with his sign, leading to an arrest and a criminal citation, according to the lawsuits. In response, FIRE announced that it had filed two lawsuits against Alpharetta officers Arick Furr and Harold Shoffeitt and Blackshear police Chief Chris Wright Tuesday for violating his First Amendment right to freedom of speech and expression, according to the press release.
“I have been harassed, trespassed, handcuffed and arrested countless times for peacefully exercising my First Amendment rights,” Gray said in the press release. “My intention is to ensure that all Americans from the wealthiest millionaire to the poorest homeless person can exercise these rights without fear of consequence from our government.”