Salt Lake County Reaches Settlement Agreement with Two Activists

Salt Lake County this month reached a settlement with two animal rights activists who were improperly barred from handing out animal rights literature in downtown Salt Lake City in early December.

Aaron Lee and Peter Tucker were attempting to hand out literature and show a video nea Abravanel Hall in downtown Salt Lake City on December 7, 2004, when sheriff’s deputy Sherida Holgate spotted the two and told them they could not hold a demonstration within one block of Abravanel Hall (where do they get these deputies from?) The deputy then threatened the activists with arrest if they persisted.

Of course the deputy was talking out of his ass, and Lee and Tucker filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the county. The County in February agreed to settle the lawsuit, paying $10,000 to cover attorneys fees amounting to $10,000 dollars, and giving Utah Animal Rights Coalition, Tucker and Lee $500 apiece.

Utah Animal Rights Coalition is also suing the county claiming that the county’s ban against spontaneous demonstrations is also illegal. Salt Lake County apparently has as provision requiring a 30 day notice before any sort of demonstration can be held. The Utah Animal Rights Coalition’s lawsuit claims that,

Defendants can not require a thirty (30) day advance permit for a free speech activity on a designated public forum when it is small (six people or less), creates no need for advance planning by the county and does not cause a need for the availability or expenditure of unusual government resources.

And they’re absolutely right in this writer’s opinion. These activists have the right to hold protests, hand out their literature, and show their videos. Having authorities interfere with and shut down such activities should not be tolerated anywhere for any reason. Requiring a 30 day notice for demonstration is absurd as well, and hopefully the federal court will promptly toss that requirement out as well.


SL County Agrees to Pay Animal Activists. KSL News, February 14, 2005.

Animal rights group aims for protest leeway. Pamela Manson, The Salt Lake Tribune, February 15, 2005.

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