U.S. free-speech advocates on Tuesday gave their annual "muzzle" awards to violators including police who charged a woman for swearing at her overflowing toilet, and a motor vehicles department that deemed a "GETOSAMA" license plate offensive.
The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression said police in Scranton, Pennsylvania had no right to issue a disorderly conduct citation to Dawn Herb, who "let loose a tirade of foul language" directed at her toilet. A neighbor who was an off-duty police officer made a complaint.
The charge was dismissed by a judge who concluded that Herb’s words, though "offensive, vulgar and imprudent" to some, were nonetheless protected under the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech, the Jefferson center said.
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[edit 9:52 p.m.] I’ll be interviewing Robert O’Neill, the director of the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression at 10 a.m. Thursday on WECK for about 10 to 15 minutes.