In a stunning bit of news, Philadelphia Park Police arrested a man for handing out fliers near the Liberty Bell:
On Saturday, May 18th at 3:00 pm, I was walking with my wife Barb in Philadelphia from Market Street to Chestnut Street between 5th and 6th Streets, and handed out a few fliers about how the Federal Reserve Bank is de-valuing our nation’s currency to people standing in the line at the Liberty Bell location (something I have done almost 20 times in the past). I briefly spoke to a couple of them who asked me for more information. We then proceeded to continue to walk to Chestnut Street when we were stopped by two Park Police who said that I could not hand out fliers without a permit (I had already finished handing them out actually; I had a few left in my hand, and was in the process of leaving the area).
They began citing some obscure federal regulation that I had never heard of. I calmly told them that I was peacefully exercising the Rights of Free Speech and Free Press as I was walking through the area, which are Natural Rights which can not be granted by man, nor alienated from man, and which they do not have the “right,” regardless of what the terms of their “job” may tell them, to usurp from me or to stop me from exercising.
I informed them that the unalienable Rights to Free Speech and Free Press were also guaranteed and protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, which, as the highest legal document of American law, certainly trumps and negates any un-Constitutional federal regulation which they were quoting to me, even under their own legal system.
I calmly informed them that they were violating those Natural Human Rights by even attempting to stop people from exercising them and claiming that our Free Speech Rights can be invalidated by an obscure regulation, and by making the claim that I now need to PAY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT FOR PERMISSION to exercise a Natural Human Right.
I then proceeded to attempt to walk away toward Fifth Street on Chestnut Street, when these Park Police told me that I was NOT FREE to walk away from them, even though I had long since finished handing anyone any fliers and had done absolutely nothing to harm anyone or violate anyone else’s rights.
The Philadelphia Park Police’s actions are clearly unconstitutional. Constitutional scholars will tell you that there’s a hierarchy to the law. The highest law is the U.S. Constitution. The federal laws passed by Congress and signed into law by a president are subject to constitutional scrutiny. The lowest ‘rung’ on the ladder are regulations and executive orders.
What happened next is appalling and frightening:
They followed me and Barb onto Chestnut Street, violently stopped us from proceeding on our way, put handcuffs on both of us (mine were applied so tightly that I have lost feeling in a large portion of the top of my left hand and will need to see a doctor about possible permanent nerve damage), unlawfully arrested our freedom of movement for over 20 minutes, unlawfully searched my person when I told them that I did not consent to any searches, stole my property in the form of the remaining fliers which I had paid to print, and, adding insult to injury, also stole a $20 bill from my wallet, which I discovered was missing when they returned it to me, after releasing us.
This is wrong on a multitude of levels. First, the search clearly violated this couple’s Fourth Amendment rights. The Fourth Amendment protects against unreasonable searches and seizures. The reason why this was an unreasonable search was because the Park Police didn’t have a warrant or probable cause.
If and when an attorney gets involved in this case, those officers are in deep trouble. Their actions violated the Bill of Rights. It’s quite possible that the man was injured by the Park Police officer’s handcuffing him.
If the government is wise, they’d settle this potential lawsuit ASAP. If they don’t settle quickly, these officers will be in deep legal trouble. If they don’t settle quickly, they’ll have to pay a huge judgment.
Finally, it’s worth questioning whether the Park Police know the Constitution, especially the Bill of rights. At this point, there isn’t proof they do. That’s a frightening thought.