Government and Law

Suburb can't limit sidewalk sign by protester

March 2, 2018
| By AP |
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CENTER LINE — A Detroit suburb has agreed to stop interfering with a protester who displays a sign with graphic images.

A judge in December granted an injunction in favor of abortion protester Michael Mattia, whose sign shows images of aborted fetuses.

Now he and the City of Center Line have settled a lawsuit.

Ordinances that restrict signs on public sidewalks in Center Line are unconstitutional as applied to Mattia.

Police told him his sign was disturbing the peace on a "psychological level." But Mattia said his free speech rights were violated.

Center Line will pay $1 to Mattia and $50,000 to his lawyer. Federal Judge David Lawson signed the agreement Wednesday.

The judge said the First Amendment protects against a "heckler's veto" by people who simply don't like the content of speech.

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