Rock of Ages Photography Ban Lawsuit Will Go To Trial
|Rock of Ages left Fort Lauderdale a little too star-struck, a lawsuit claims.|
- Five Reasons Rock of Ages is Worse Than You Think
Fort Lauderdale, on the other hand, is not so lucky.
Rock of Ages also filmed there last year, in the Himmarshee Village area, posting signs prohibiting photography and citing a city ordinance that didn't actually have anything to do with photography. The Society of Professional Journalists, led by attorney and South Florida Gay News publisher Norm Kent, filed a lawsuit against the city and its police force, claiming that the enforcement of the ban is unconstitutional.
The city moved to dismiss, putting the suit into a state of limbo -- until now. SFGN reports that a judge has denied the motion to dismiss, green-lighting a trial.
Judge Michelle Tobin Singer ruled that "First Amendment protections represented a significant public interest which have to be protected, and the claims have a right to be heard," the site reports.
n June 2011, a city spokesperson told the Sun-Sentinel that the rule was "a matter of public safety." Off-duty Fort Lauderdale police officers were hired to guard the premises and enforce the rule. But other groups, including the National Press Photographers Association, said the rule violates the right of free speech.
Now that a trial is pending, litigators will take depositions of the officers hired to enforce the rule. Is it a lot of fuss over some photos of a low-quality movie set? Perhaps. But Kent's partner Russell Cormican told SFGN it's more about ensuring the city's police officers act responsibly. "Instead of being guardians of the public interest, the Fort Lauderdale police allowed themselves to become tools of a movie studio."
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