Criminal Criticism in which disagreement equals handcuffs

From Chris Bray’s reddit page, Tell Me How This Ends:

This just keeps happening, and I’ll just keep writing about it.

A 22 year-old Iowa resident named Noah Petersen was arrested this week at a meeting of the Newton City Council after sharply criticizing the town’s police department and refusing to be silent when the mayor told him to stop. You can read a local news story here, or see full video here. Here’s a TV news report that gets in most of the important action:

“You are out of order, sir,” and, “Chief, escort this gentleman from the chambers.” Because he criticized the city government. I find the interrupted comment lumpy and cartoonish — more about this in a moment — but it doesn’t matter: The First Amendment protects dumb speech, too.

The city’s rules for public comment (see Item #4) prohibit “derogatory statements or comments about any individual.” From the City of Newton’s website, here’s the police department’s Idiocracy-quality press release on the arrest:


Read the rest over there.

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