Suburb can't limit sidewalk sign by protester
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.