(TFTP) –CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — (TRI) In a victory for widespread sense and moderation in how police perform safety protocols, a common district court docket has granted The Rutherford Institute’s request to dismiss the federal government’s case in opposition to a disabled struggle veteran who was arrested and charged with a criminal offense after he lawfully bought cans of Arizona iced tea, aerosol bug spray, a light-weight bulb, and razor blades, all of which have been on the Metropolis of Charlottesville’s checklist of briefly prohibited, probably “harmful” gadgets.
John Miska, a disabled struggle veteran, was charged with violating a Metropolis ordinance prohibiting probably “harmful” gadgets. By the way, the veteran’s weapons (not among the many checklist of prohibited gadgets) brought on no alarm. In throwing out the costs in opposition to Miska, the court docket dominated that the availability of the ordinance used to justify Miska’s arrest is overbroad and unreasonable and, due to this fact, unenforceable.
Elliott M. Harding of Harding Counsel PLLC, assisted The Rutherford Institute with Miska’s case.
“This case—through which a dozen police swarmed a disabled veteran with a walker shopping for cans of iced tea and bug spray from a CVS—is way from the one instance of a dysfunctional, extreme authorities that overreaches, overspends, and is totally out of sync with the spirit of the Structure,” stated constitutional legal professional John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute and creator of Battlefield America: The War on the American People. “Whereas this victory is welcome, the battle is way from over.”
One yr after the occasions of August 12, 2017, when civil unrest broke out in Charlottesville over the town’s choice to take away a Accomplice statue from a public park, metropolis officers declared a “state of emergency” and established a “safety space” across the Downtown Mall, limiting entry to the world on August 11 and 12, 2018, and prohibiting the possession of quite a few objects throughout the space that may very well be thought of an “implement of a riot.” Metropolis officers additionally declared that every one luggage can be “consensually” searched earlier than anybody was allowed to enter the safety space.
Utilizing a walker due to his incapacity, Miska, a 64-year-old disabled struggle veteran who has been a vocal advocate for veterans’ causes and the First Modification, entered the safety space on August 11, 2018, and proceeded to the Mall’s CVS Pharmacy, which was inside a bit of the Mall that had been briefly positioned below heightened safety restrictions. Miska bought two circumstances of Arizona Iced Tea cans and a bundle of straight-edge razor blades, amongst different gadgets.
Upon exiting the shop, Miska was accosted by a dozen police, who searched the CVS plastic bag containing his purchases. Miska was then handcuffed, arrested and charged with violating Part 18-25 of the Metropolis Code and a draconian “emergency” declaration that prohibited anybody from getting into the mall in possession of widespread home items, together with metallic beverage and meals cans, glass bottles, skateboards, aerosol sprays and some other merchandise police thought of an “implement of a riot.”
In coming to Miska’s protection, Rutherford Institute attorneys identified that whereas the emergency declaration prohibited people from bringing prohibited gadgets onto the mall, it didn’t prohibit folks from lawfully buying these gadgets from retail institutions on the mall.