Federal court backs protestor, calls Monument Circle ‘public forum’

(WISH Photo, file)
(WISH Photo, file)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A federal court has sided with an Indiana man who says police violated his free speech rights when they forced him to stop a protest on the steps of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument in downtown Indianapolis.

The 7th Circuit U.S. District Court of Appeals in Chicago on Tuesday overturned a district court decision derailing Eric Smith’s case against the Indiana War Memorials Commission.

Smith sued the commission after police threatened him with arrest in July because he didn’t have a permit to hold a protest at the monument. But the appeals court says people sit on the monument steps for lunch and other purposes almost every day, making it a public forum.

The appeals court found grounds for an order blocking the permit policy’s enforcement.

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