Update 4/23/11 4:30pm. Jones and Sapp left Dearborn today however they vow to return next Friday for a protest in front of the courthouse saying they were denied their civil rights. Let’s see what happens since they were *told* they weren’t welcome for 3 years.
Update 2:46am 4/23/11 h/t Civil Truth from MSNBC
An ACLU spokeswoman said Dearborn officials had violated free speech protections of the Constitution and given more publicity to a divisive and fringe figure by trying to bar his protest.
“We vehemently disagree with Mr. Jones and his cohorts. However, this is a complete abuse of the court process and all those involved should be ashamed,” said ACLU spokeswoman Rana Elmir.
She added: “I believe that Rev. Jones came to Dearborn for his 15 minutes of fame and the judge and prosecutors have now effectively given him hours of that.”
This pretty much says it all. I watched the proceedings on the Detroit Fox station live. Jones and Wayne Sapp were jailed because they refused to put up a $1 bond.
Jones and Sapp traveled from Florida yesterday to Dearborn Michigan where their intention was to hold a protest outside of one the areas largest mosques. The city denied them a permit but they were informed they had other venues.
Dearborn has the largest Muslim population in the country.
Jones decided to take a jury trial. 6 jurors were seated. The jury was asked to decide whether or not Jones’ intentions were likely to breach the peace. The jury said yes. Jones declined to post the $1 bond Judge Somers required however someone else posted the bond and Jones and Sapp have been escorted out of the courtroom to a place unknown.
Prosecutors had originally requested the bond be set at $45,000.
As a watcher of live Fox News reports I saw police choppers and SWAT teams at the ready for any violence that could ensue. During the courtroom drama it was not apparent how the jury would rule so the authorities were at the ready.
Jones was ultimately warned he was not to visit the area for 3 years.
Protesters lined the fenced off area outside the mosque. Only parishioners were allowed within the boundaries of the property.and numerous media were at the ready in anticipation for any drama which didn’t happen. The Imam at the mosque repeatedly requested for tolerance on the part of the parishioners. Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy issued the following statement.
“These proceedings were solely about public safety. This was never about prohibiting free speech or fearing rioting, but about a situation that could potentially place the public in danger in Dearborn. I will continue to take stands to be proactive in keeping Wayne County safe.”
ANALYSIS AND COMMENTARY
The ACLU has been at the ready. It is unclear at this point who trumps who: public safety v. 1st amendment rights. I am betting on the latter. This is one that if pursued could go all the way to SCOTUS. Jones was sanctioned and tried for something he may do a la the film Minority Report. Time will tell how this one plays out.
Crossposted at Conservative Outlooks