Timoney Loses, Freedom Wins, Taxpayers Pay
Back in November 2003, the City of Miami shut down some protests against a Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) meeting being held here. The cops beat some protesters and illegally jailed others. Just last May, the city paid $17K to the family of photographer Emily Vogel, whose car was destroyed while she was taking pictures.
And yesterday, the 11th Circut Court of the U.S. District Court of Appeals nailed the city and Timoney for shutting down an Amnesty International protest before it started. "Trampling on constitutional rights in order to keep the peace is not a permissible police action," said Louis M. Jepeway Jr., ACLU cooperating attorney.
The finding simply gives the ACLU room to move forward with its case, one of six it filed after the FTAA protests. The language is significant (and a tad garbled, but what the heck): "There can be no doubt that police conduct knowingly designed to so utterly eviscerate fundamental expressive freedoms would violate clearly established constitutional law...," the court stated.
It's now likely a trial judge will try to teach the city -- and its taxpayers -- a lesson. Timoney has charged us for all kinds of trips, insulted Cubans, and generally partied down at our expense.
Isn't it time one of our mayoral candidates, Tomas Regalado or Joe Sanchez, weighed in on the problem?