We have previously seen cases involving the arresting of citizens who merely warn others of a speech trap. Despite rulings that correctly recognize such acts as free speech, the arrests continue. The latest is a woman in Houston, Texas, Natalie Plummer, who was jailed for 12 hours after she held up a sign to warn drivers about a speed trap.
Plummer was riding her bike when she spotted the speech trap. She quickly drew up a make shift sign on a grocery bag to warn off drivers saying ‘Speed Trap!!’ in large letters. A police officer arrived and seized the sign. Plummer was charged with walking in the roadway
She says that the officer first went through her backpack and then arrested her for felony obstruction of justice.
The Houston Police Department is insisting the officer was right to arrest Plummer because her presence in a place without a sidewalk was endangering herself and others. I wonder how many such arrests the police in Houston make each day.
Such actions constitutes core free speech in my opinion. The charge seems rather transparent as an effort to retaliate for that speech. Plummer insists that she did not step into the street, but it is also unclear why such an offense would not be handled with a warning. She also says that the Houston police officer broke her two cellphones.
Many of these arrests are based on laws that prohibit the flashing of lights near other cars — laws that seem rarely enforced except to penalize citizens who warn other citizens. With more cities in the red, police are increasing the use of speed traps to extract money from citizens. These laws allow officers to criminalize speech between citizens — with the acquiescence of municipal and state officers.
Source: Daily Mail