A 21-year-old college student from Long Island, New York, is suing his local police department for violating his free speech after he was arrested in June for hanging a banner that read “Impeach Obama.”
The student, Daniel Martins, said on Tuesday that his right to free speech was violated when the police arrested him on June 6, 2014 (video of arrest below). He filed a lawsuit against the police department on Wednesday.
Martins is currently a senior attending Hofstra University, which is located seven miles from New York City. A member of the Libertarian Club, he believed he was merely exercising his right to free speech when he strung up a banner that demanded President Obama’s impeachment over a Long Island Expressway overpass, according to CBS New York.
Nassau County Police, who claimed that his banner posed a safety hazard, arrested Martins.
In a video (below) Martins took during his arrest, he asks the officers about what was illegal about his actions. Martins later used the video to attract donors for his online fund to pay for attorney fees.
“They would rather bargain and plea down violent drug and DWI offenders, but I’m being prosecuted for peacefully protesting – which is completely legal,” said Martins, according to CBS. “It doesn’t make any sense to me. If that’s justice, then our founding fathers would be turning in their graves.”
“ ... I took them down individually after I did the protest, and I brought them back, and I never left any trash or any garbage. I always cleaned up after myself, and I was always respectful about the time I was supposed to be there, which was two hours I did every Friday.”
The judge of Martins’ case dismissed the charges against him in December 2014, reasoning that the student was exercising free speech without causing a hazard.
The student is now suing the Nassau County Police Department, seeking compensation for unspecified monetary damages, the New York Post reports.
A spokesman for Nassau County declined to comment, according to the Times Union.
Photo Credit: Opposing Views