ACLU: Occupy MN has right to unrestricted use of public property — and free electricity, too

posted at 10:05 am on November 22, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Here in Minneapolis, our local Occupy movement hasn’t made national news, thanks to a smaller turnout and relatively little outrageous behavior.  However, the ACLU has now jumped into the fray, suing Hennepin County (Minneapolis) for enforcing rules and laws on the use of public property where the Occupiers have camped.  Specifically, the ACLU wants Hennepin County to grant unrestricted use indefinitely to the Occupiers on the basis of free speech … which apparently includes free electricity, too (via Rob Port):

The American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota sued Hennepin County on Monday on behalf of OccupyMPLS, the protest group camping out on the Government Center Plaza in downtown Minneapolis in defiance of county rules.

The ACLU suit contends that those rules, which forbid tents and electricity, and “certain unwritten procedures enforced by the county” violate the demonstrators’ free speech rights. …

The suit asks that new rules restricting the use of chalk, electricity and tents be declared unconstitutional. The plaintiffs are also seeking an injunction against the rules, and they want the county to provide electricity for the protesters. It also asks that officials stop giving trespass notices to protesters who build temporary shelters or use chalk to express their views.

The county has said the plaza is not designed for long-term occupation and that the restrictions adopted earlier this month are needed because of health and safety concerns and increased security costs.

There may be a legitimate political gripe about the promulgation of rules in response to the Occupy protests.  However, the county had not imagined that anyone would claim the right to squat indefinitely on public land as a form of political protest, and the grounds are in use every day for all members of the public.  The fact that these individuals hold signs and chant rhyming slogans give them no special grant to use public property in a way that creates a semi-permanent obstruction for everyone else’s use, and that most especially includes chalking up the sidewalks and running power cables all over the place, a potential safety hazard for pedestrians and a potential fire hazard under some circumstances.

The ACLU’s demand that the county supply the electricity is just … perfect.  What better statement for this movement to make than to demand that county taxpayers buy the electricity that will keep this obstacle in business for a while longer?  They want free education, free electricity, and now free housing of a sort, although they weren’t successful in getting it:

Two people arrested in Minneapolis during a weekend protest against Wall Street remained in custody Sunday, while a video posted on the Occupy Minnesota website showed an officer appearing to use his squad car to push one of the men out of the way during the demonstration.

The men were arrested Saturday at a foreclosed home that was being occupied by protesters. One was arrested on charges of burglary and trespassing, while the other was arrested for obstruction of justice after refusing to move for police. A video posted on the group’s website shows the man standing in front of a squad car, as an officer slowly begins driving the car forward — causing the man to be pushed back. …

About two dozen protesters returned to the foreclosed home on Sunday as fire officials boarded up the house. Police were on hand, but Sullivan said the protesters were peaceful and there were no arrests.

We had heard that the Occupiers would start squatting in foreclosed homes as a way to beat the cold out in the open at “People’s Plaza,” but there is one big difference that they apparently didn’t take into consideration.  The county can impose rules on the use of public property and cite people who violate them, but breaking into private property is burglary — and that results in more than just a citation and a fine.  It will be much more difficult to explain away a burglary conviction than one for disorderly conduct.

Free homes, free electricity, unrestricted use of public property, and waiving all the rules … this isn’t a political movement.  It’s the equivalent of a temper tantrum from a two-year-old.  This is the Freeloader Movement.

Meanwhile, over in Boston, we find out that free speech is a quality reserved for those animals more equal than others:

From a respectable distance on the sidewalk on Atlantic Avenue, I observe a Boston EMS technician patiently trying to coax the woman out of her tent to take her to the hospital. Two cops look on. The woman obviously has some mental health issues.

Out of the blue, a 20-something female occupier with a disgusted look on her face comes running up to me, gets in my face and yells, “Get out of here. You have no right to watch.” I say nothing and instead walk away from her. But I continue to observe the EMS tech and cops from another vantage point doing their jobs. …

A few minutes later, she returns. “I told you to get out of here,” she screams at me. “I won’t say it again. What’s wrong with you? It’s none of your business.”

This time I respond. “I’m a citizen of the United States, I am on public property, and I am doing nothing wrong,” I tell her. She fumes, but goes away.

Then some older occupier, pretending to sweep the sidewalk, sweeps a whole bunch of debris up on to my pants. It was hard, but I ignore him.

Other people are now watching EMS do their job as well, with one young guy taking pictures. Another occupier comes over and, in a threatening voice, orders him to stop. “Bite me,” the shutterbug calmly tells the occupier. “Last time I looked, this is America pal.” I say to myself, “Way to go kid!”

For a “movement” that takes place on public property, the Occupiers seem to have a real problem about transparency.  I wonder what else they’re hiding, in Boston and around the country.

Update: Reader Michael G says that the protesters were willing to pay for the electricity, and refers me to paragraph 64 of the ACLU’s complaint:

Electricity supply on the Plazas was  cut off by the County on Tuesday, November 8, 2011, notwithstanding the fact that Plaintiffs are willing and able to pay for any and all electricity used by them for purposes of demonstrations.  The County has rejected Plaintiffs’ offer to pay for the electricity because it is not interested in making the Plaintiffs “comfortable.”  Since OccupyMPLS has been unable to access electricity on the Plazas, it has become more and more difficult to keep laptops, cell phones, and other computer equipment charged so that OccupyMPLS can continue broadcasting the demonstrations online on the livestream.  There have been several occasions in which the livestream has stopped broadcasting because the demonstrators’ computer batteries have gone dead.  Plaintiff Richards has struggled to keep the OccupyMPLS laptop computers charged so that Plaintiffs are able to provide continuous livestream coverage.

However, under Count II of “Causes of Action,” paragraph 8, the ACLU demand does not include any provision for paying for the electricity:

By reason of Defendants’ misconduct and threatened misconduct, and the irreparable harm Plaintiffs have suffered and will continue to suffer, Plaintiffs are entitled to a temporary restraining order, preliminary injunction and permanent injunction requiring Defendants, their officers, agents, servants, attorneys, and any person acting in concert and participation with them, with actual notice of the injunction by personal service or otherwise, to make electricity available to Plaintiffs  on the Plazas through Defendants’ existing electrical outlets to convey their message.

Also, the same demand appears in clause C of the Request for Relief:

Upon Count Two of their Complaint, a temporary restraining order, preliminary injunction and permanent injunction requiring Defendants to make electricity available to Plaintiffs on the Plazas through Defendants’ existing electrical outlets to convey their message.

In other words, because of the offensive nature of cutting off power, the ACLU demands that Hennepin County start supplying electricity immediately, and absent any promise to pay for it.  Even if they did offer to pay for the electricity, though, how would Hennepin County figure out how to determine the cost of the power being consumed in the plaza?  And who, exactly, in this leaderless movement would be accountable for paying the bill?

It looks like the Star Tribune’s reporting on the demand for free electricity was substantially correct.

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I’ve got a FEVER, baby… and the only prescription… is more truncheon!!

JohnGalt23 on November 22, 2011 at 10:10 AM

Hear, hear Ed
If public land is free speech, what gives them the right to filibuster? Can the tea party occupy the park to give a counter protest at the same time or would the ACLU find that laws restricting tea party speech not worth arguing?

Skywise on November 22, 2011 at 10:11 AM

I do believe the local morning news told me that Seattle police are investigating a sexual almost-assault at #occupyseattle.

It’s possible that the protestors forgot to relocate the rape-free zone to the college campus when they were evicted from the Capitol Hill area.

Jeddite on November 22, 2011 at 10:12 AM

I just got my electricity bill… I demand my right to free electricity! Oh, and my mortgage and water and gas for my car and…

sandee on November 22, 2011 at 10:13 AM

Look, I’m as big a fan of the First Amendment as anyone, but isn’t it about time we stop bending over backwards for every little friggin demand in its name?

How did we ever exercise our free speech in the days before electricity if electricity is some kind of public right in the name of free speech?

Red Cloud on November 22, 2011 at 10:13 AM

The first amendment does not include all these ‘rights’ the ACLU is willing to confer upon the occupiers. All they need do tho, is find a compliant judge for that.

Kissmygrits on November 22, 2011 at 10:13 AM

So what happens if someone puts up a Nativity scene on this public property? Can they demand free electricity too? It’s interesting that the ACLU will argue FOR one groups’ freedom of speech and against another groups’. Doesn’t this show some hypocrisy on their part?

UnderstandingisPower on November 22, 2011 at 10:14 AM

Ah yes, the protesters get to camp out in public places as if they were the protesters’ property, and even leave a couple hundred pounds of their wastes in the park for someone else to deal with — but the rest of us don’t get to take pictures or even look at what’s going on in public places.

I’d call it hypocrisy, but it’s really tribalism, as in “you’re not a member of our tribe, so f___ you and f___ your rights.”

Aitch748 on November 22, 2011 at 10:15 AM

FREE LIFE!

Just cutting to the chase.

listens2glenn on November 22, 2011 at 10:16 AM

How about we start an activist group called “Walk in the Park” to advocate for physical fitness.

The first political statement will be to walk through a public park end to end, arm in arm, 100 abreast.

It’s political speech.

forest on November 22, 2011 at 10:16 AM

LA is trying to give them a 10,000 sq ft building to slum in to get them off city hall steps. I suspect that the taxpayers will have to pick up the tab for power and heat, too.

Blake on November 22, 2011 at 10:18 AM

Ed, you’ll need to add an update

Drudge has a link where the LA mayor is giving these folks land and office space for $1 a year to get them to leave their spot now

cmsinaz on November 22, 2011 at 10:18 AM

forest on November 22, 2011 at 10:16 AM

OK, but watch out for the piles of poop.

Aitch748 on November 22, 2011 at 10:19 AM

Are they planning on using the electricity to heat their tents?

Blake on November 22, 2011 at 10:19 AM

Is it the ACLU’s contention that groups do not have to secure permits, provide evidence of liability insurance, provide sanitation facilities, etc., that have been required for other protest gatherings, such as the TEA party?

onlineanalyst on November 22, 2011 at 10:20 AM

Something that’s illegal doesn’t suddenly become legal when done as a form of protest.

DethMetalCookieMonst on November 22, 2011 at 10:21 AM

Side note, anyone else notice Martha Maccallum’s ongoing sympathy for these dirt bags?

gaius on November 22, 2011 at 10:22 AM

Great minds Blake

cmsinaz on November 22, 2011 at 10:22 AM

Watch the King of the Hill episode “Phish and Wild Life”. It fits what’s going on with the Occupy movement perfectly, even though the episode is several years old. It even mocks how protesters think that soething that is normally against the law is all-of-a-sudden legal when done under protest.

Show everyone the episode if you have access. You can stream it via netflix.

DethMetalCookieMonst on November 22, 2011 at 10:25 AM

Material goods and services are not rights.

Anything that reaches into someone else’s pocket cannot be a right.

Period.

Bat Chain Puller on November 22, 2011 at 10:26 AM

Something that’s illegal doesn’t suddenly become legal when done as a form of protest.

DethMetalCookieMonst on November 22, 2011 at 10:21 AM

Stop making sense!

forest on November 22, 2011 at 10:27 AM

I’m sure they’ll win too – got to love MN judges.

gophergirl on November 22, 2011 at 10:28 AM

Are they planning on using the electricity to heat their tents?

Blake on November 22, 2011 at 10:19 AM

A Mac Book Pro needs recharging.

beatcanvas on November 22, 2011 at 10:29 AM

The Democrats on the committee are wild-eyed Leftists, purchased and owned by the unions and committed to making as many Americans (voters) dependent on the Democratic Party as possible.

Jim Clyburn was on this committee. Did anybody really believe this guy is capable of compromise (or cutting anything other than defense)?

Want some fun? Look up Clyburn’s “Republican Deficit Society” release from around 2006 wherein he bemoans the horrible $350B deficit. This idiot also submitted a bill in May 2007 calling for all troops to be withdrawn from Iraq by December… he kinda dropped that sort of demand once his pal took office.

Clyburn is a party hack with no moral compass. This committee was dead from Day 1.

mankai on November 22, 2011 at 10:30 AM

Electricity? Isn’t that the stuff that they generate from coal, and which Obama is working so hard to shut down? Why would they want to use something that is harmful to the planet?

MikeA on November 22, 2011 at 10:31 AM

A Mac Book Pro needs recharging.

beatcanvas on November 22, 2011 at 10:29 AM

“The bat sigmal MUST not go dark!”

VegasRick on November 22, 2011 at 10:31 AM

how about:

Free pepper spray!

tomg51 on November 22, 2011 at 10:32 AM

A video posted on the group’s website shows the man standing in front of a squad car, as an officer slowly begins driving the car forward — causing the man to be pushed back. …

Note to protester—-take a physics class.

Rovin on November 22, 2011 at 10:32 AM

Solar panels not cutting it, eh?

rogerb on November 22, 2011 at 10:35 AM

Something that’s illegal doesn’t suddenly become legal when done as a form of protest.

DethMetalCookieMonst on November 22, 2011 at 10:21 AM

That’s where you and the ACLU actually disagree. They believe that government has an active obligation to provide access for free speech activities. These laws, they believe, all contain an implicit “free speech exemption,” to the point that stealing electricity in support of free political speech must be allowed.

Some Tea Party group ought to test this – see if the ACLU would actually stand up for their “right” to use some of that gubmint electricity.

notropis on November 22, 2011 at 10:37 AM

What are they hiding? Rape, sexual assault, rape, rape, assault, drug use, track marks, theft, rape, gang rape, failure to account for income earned….hey, who’s going to file the taxes for this group? I bet some folks from the IRS are actively following the money raised by OWS. Can’t wait for the report that will certainly show that the White House pressured the IRS to look the other way.

Oh, and more rapes. Just another day in Liberal Animal World.

William Teach on November 22, 2011 at 10:38 AM

The former Occuply St. Louis group had set up on a public park and was also helping itself to free electricity. A radio reporter asked who was paying for it and was told, “I guess our city taxes are paying for it.” He then asked the guy where he was from and he said “Texas.” I say “former” because the group was shown the gate and the park now has the annual Salvation Army Christmas Tree after the city ran them off and even a Clinton appointed Federal Judge told them to go jump.

flyoverland on November 22, 2011 at 10:40 AM

Free electricity???

Brian on November 22, 2011 at 10:40 AM

I’d like to see these localities start sending bills for EMS overtime to all these celebutard OWS supporters. Why should the tax payers be on the hook for overtime for these protests? These places had no trouble forcing the Tea Party to pay for overtime, and EVENT INSURANCE!

Iblis on November 22, 2011 at 10:40 AM

So if this is found in favor of the occupiers I can build a non-code compliant house on public property and get free electric service which I can use to heat the home and power all the appliances. Did I get that right? Will the ACLU litigate that for me? Can I power up CHRISTMAS lights too? Ho Ho Ho!

Gandalf on November 22, 2011 at 10:41 AM

Then some older occupier, pretending to sweep the sidewalk, sweeps a whole bunch of debris up on to my pants. It was hard, but I ignore him.

At that point I would pretend that the ahole was a broom use his head to sweep the debris away from me.

Bishop on November 22, 2011 at 10:41 AM

I was in downtown Minneapolis on business last week and had to go by the Occupy Minneapolis encampment. There weren’t but a handful of people at night or early in the morning, but the mess on the plaza didn’t endear the “movement” to me. It’s right beside a transit stop, so it’s hard to avoid. I did notice that the US Bank building across the street from the camp had barriers up around the entrance, so they must’ve had some trouble with protestors.

changer1701 on November 22, 2011 at 10:42 AM

FREE LIFE!

Just cutting to the chase.

listens2glenn on November 22, 2011 at 10:16 AM

**Except in cases where the “fetus” must die

SouthernGent on November 22, 2011 at 10:43 AM

Well, MikeA, good point. Here’s a compromise. We’ll let the little failures set up a solar panel or two, and whatever electricity they can coax out of it, during the Minnesota winter, will be free to use.

MNHawk on November 22, 2011 at 10:43 AM

However, the ACLU has now jumped into the fray, suing Hennepin County (Minneapolis) for enforcing rules and laws on the use of public property where the Occupiers have camped.

A little loser pays – tort reform like we have down here in Texas would probably be really welcomed up in Hennepin county MN right about now:) The suit should be treated as a nuisances suit, and whoever brought the suit, should have to pay all court cost, and fined for bringing the suit. What judge up in Hennepin County, is going to trample on private property rights of the tax payers of Hennepin county? If the ACLU finds it’s self an activist judge like Lucy Billings in NYC, that issued a restraining order for Zuccotti Park. The local authorities in Hennepin County, now know there is a remedy for activist judges a precedent was set by Mayor Mike Bloomberg, a way to deal with the pooping squatters, and their activist judicial protectors. It’s called enforcing the law.

Dr Evil on November 22, 2011 at 10:44 AM

A video posted on the group’s website shows the man standing in front of a squad car, as an officer slowly begins driving the car forward — causing the man to be pushed back

Minneapolis PD isn’t NYPD or LAPD by a longshot, but they aren’t afraid to mix it up. I’ve taken ride-alongs with an old high school friend who is an MPD sergeant and watched as squad cars sweep right up on the sidewalk and into crowds when other officers are having trouble controlling them. You go down into the 5th Precinct in the crappy neighborhoods and those cops are skull-crackers.

Bishop on November 22, 2011 at 10:46 AM

That’s nothing. Here in Los Angeles they want to give the Occupiers the farmland, housing, and a 10,000 square foot building for $1 a year. I don’t think appeasement will work on these radicals.

Blue Collar Todd on November 22, 2011 at 10:48 AM

The photographer’s response is exactly right. There’s generally no need for law enforcement. The best way to handle this is for the members of the public to assert their civil responsibility, make us of their property, and generally make life as uncomfortable as possible for the OWS. If they plug something in, cut their cords. If they block your path, move them. That relies, of course, on members of the public not being cowardly wimps. Are we up to it?

GalosGann on November 22, 2011 at 10:48 AM

Tax payers of Hennepin County Minnesota are the people who pay the up keep on public property and the wages of public workers. I think the ACLU has really jumped the shark this time, it’s nothing more than a nuisance suit. The laws are on the books this is settled law. One person’s 1st amendment rights ends when it infringes on another citizens 1st amendment rights – in this case the tax payers.

Dr Evil on November 22, 2011 at 10:49 AM

Well, MikeA, good point. Here’s a compromise. We’ll let the little failures set up a solar panel or two, and whatever electricity they can coax out of it, during the Minnesota winter, will be free to use.

MNHawk on November 22, 2011 at 10:43 AM

I don’t understand according to Al Gore it shouldn’t be cold up in Minnesota, the poop dispensers, should be comfortable without any source of heat up in Minnesota GRIN.

Dr Evil on November 22, 2011 at 10:53 AM

Are they planning on using the electricity to heat their tents?

Blake on November 22, 2011 at 10:19 AM

Occupier burned to death by having a kerosine heater in his or her tent in 10….9….8…

DethMetalCookieMonst on November 22, 2011 at 10:54 AM

I can shorten this down…

ACLU: OWS has a right to be a thief.

sadatoni on November 22, 2011 at 10:54 AM

In 2006, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals determined that the number of beds for the homeless was inadequate, and suspended the city’s anti-camping ordinance within the official boundaries of Skid Row, between the hours of 9 p.m. and 6:30 a.m. During the day, homeless individuals are prohibited from sleeping on the sidewalk. The city originally appealed but later settled the case with the ACLU, which permits sleeping on the streets between nine p.m. and six a.m. until 1,250 additional units are built for the homeless population.[8]

This is what happened in LA.I have been waiting for the ACLU to get involved.There is around 20,000 living on the street in LA’s Skid Row.Coming to a city near all of us.

docflash on November 22, 2011 at 10:55 AM

For a “movement” that takes place on public property, the Occupiers seem to have a real problem about transparency. I wonder what else they’re hiding, in Boston and around the country.

The same can be said for the rest of this National movement of Socialists – including the White House.

Chip on November 22, 2011 at 10:58 AM

Graffiti is not “speech”, it’s defacing public property. The ACLU has now gone fully Communist and declared that everything belongs to everybody, but nobody is responsible for anything. This is what leftist intellectualism has brought us to: Ten thousand years of civic evolution down the drain.

Socratease on November 22, 2011 at 11:01 AM

What did the Tea Party get…???

PatriotRider on November 22, 2011 at 11:03 AM

Who issued any of these OWS poop dispensers “permits” as I recall people have to apply for permits to protest. I think OWS and it’s enablers, have actually left themselves legally exposed especially for theft and damage to public and private property. Where are all the lawyers OWS looks like easy pickings to me. The depositions and discovery, that would come from suing the poop dispensers alone, would be worth bringing law suits against them. If you go after the foot soldiers it will lead you to their commanders. What is the point of RICO if you don’t use it? There aren’t any lawyers in this country who don’t want to raise their profile, make a name for themselves, get a book deal etc…

Dr Evil on November 22, 2011 at 11:09 AM

Its the Moocher Movement.

Pure and simple.

Speech is speech.

Squatting with a tent is squatting with a tent.

And if they were campers they would learn: if you pack it in, you pack it out. Most cities have laws against camping in urban areas outside of private property.

If they are practicing speech they would give way to other citizens using the land and act responsibly by NOT pitching tents and squatting.

Yeah, this is a ‘movement’ all right.

It needs a dose of ex-lax.

ajacksonian on November 22, 2011 at 11:11 AM

I keep saying, tort suit. Joint and several liability. Everyone harmed by OWS should sue for damages. And if the ACLU demands the county supply electricity to the protesters, than the ACLU should pay for it.

LarryD on November 22, 2011 at 11:11 AM

Graffiti is not “speech”, it’s defacing public property. The ACLU has now gone fully Communist and declared that everything belongs to everybody, but nobody is responsible for anything. This is what leftist intellectualism has brought us to: Ten thousand years of civic evolution down the drain.

Socratease on November 22, 2011 at 11:01 AM

You are entirely correct; a national organization of socialists like the ACLU is just like the rest of the extreme Left in their view of property rights.

How else can they justify the idea that they have a rightful claim on other people property and earnings?

The view that they have a ‘right’ to public property and power tramples on other people’s property rights, but Marxists don’t care about such things, they have a revolution to drive.

Chip on November 22, 2011 at 11:11 AM

The most common defendant to a civil RICO claim is not the stereotypical godfather figure, but is instead the CEO of a corporation, the controlling shareholder of a closed-corporation, the trustee of an estate or trust, or the leader of a political protest group. Even the Catholic Church has been named as a RICO defendant.

Paging Mr Rico, Mr Rico, We need Mr Rico to pick up, we have a client for you lol!

Dr Evil on November 22, 2011 at 11:12 AM

I think the Minnesota snowbirds should let these Occupy people live rent free in their vacant houses this winter… be sure to stock up on dry goods before you head for Arizona…

Khun Joe on November 22, 2011 at 11:21 AM

Yeah, this is a ‘movement’ all right.

It needs a dose of ex-lax.

ajacksonian on November 22, 2011 at 11:11 AM

Good heavens, no! Those OWS places are already a mess and reek badly enough to where these ill-mannered poorly litter-trained whiners are defecating like untrained puppies. You don’t need to go and exacerbate the problem like that.

AZfederalist on November 22, 2011 at 11:26 AM

Sorry, ACLU. I’m a libertarian and you’ve even lost me.

sobincorporated on November 22, 2011 at 11:37 AM

Give the Occupiers free lutefiske, and put whatever they don’t eat INSIDE their tents…

That will end the Occupation in 2 days…

Khun Joe on November 22, 2011 at 11:46 AM

In the UK ‘squatters rights’ is a big deal. Once they move in, you have a difficult time evicting them. Once evicted, they return almost immediately.

Guess I should have looked a little closer. It’s happening in the US already..

Oh Lord, it’s worse than I thought :

According to Michigan Law, if you openly occupy and use the land for 15 years, it’s yours.

The elements of adverse possession in Michigan are: actual, visible, open, notorious, exclusive, and uninterrupted possession of the property that was hostile to the owner and under cover of a claim of right for a fifteen-year period. Rozmarek v Plamondon, 419 Mich 287, 295; 351 NW2d 558 (1984).

Skandia Recluse on November 22, 2011 at 11:51 AM

Hooray for the ACLU!

I just love the All Communist Lawyers Union.

LegendHasIt on November 22, 2011 at 11:51 AM

That relies, of course, on members of the public not being cowardly wimps. Are we up to it?

GalosGann on November 22, 2011 at 10:48 AM

You’re joking, right?

People are afraid to even write strongly worded statements on a blog for fear of getting banned- let alone having the balls to actually confront the enemies who are destroying the country from within.

justltl on November 22, 2011 at 11:56 AM

Give them the electricity and then pay for it by removing some other service to the general public. Something big; something obvious and make a sink about it.

Post a sign like “This city is no longer providing ________ because we were told that we had to pay for the electicity for the protesters squatting in your public park. Do you pay for your electricity? I bet the protesters would love to hear you tell them about the real world. Regards, Hennepin County”.

kurtzz3 on November 22, 2011 at 11:57 AM

these people are instigating a w.a.r.

ted c on November 22, 2011 at 12:02 PM

Amazing the amount of “free” things and “rights” the ACLU can find in the Constitution.

Perhaps more folks should use the phrase “Bite me” when these idiots and their fellow travelers try to throw their weight around.

GarandFan on November 22, 2011 at 12:02 PM

The ACLU is the most anti-American group in the US now! These lawyers are scum and are bringing this country and all it stands for to its knees!

JonR on November 22, 2011 at 12:09 PM

This just reduced the costs of my local Tea Party events.

If the city is providing these services for FREE to one group, you better provide it to all.

barnone on November 22, 2011 at 12:18 PM

So when Obowma cancels the elections and declares himself ‘Lord Protector who knows what’s best’…

…. and we take to the streets to protest, and are immediately arrested and taken to re-education camps, will we have heated tents?

Seven Percent Solution on November 22, 2011 at 12:32 PM

So let me get this straight…if you stand on a street long enough and complain about how other people make a living loud enough, and you make the public place unbearable and unhealthy and unsafe for citizens of the city, and the city gets fed up and tells you to get lost, the city itself can be sued and forced to provide you with shelter and can’t deny you access to electricity? While the citizens of the city go to work every day to pay for shelter and utilities for their families, and whose tax dollars are being wasted paying public employees to babysit a bunch of freeloaders?

Wow, ACLU, just wow.

scalleywag on November 22, 2011 at 1:04 PM

Gotta love an entitled generation that mistakes “public funding” with a “right.” It’s high time we start protesting these protesters. Let’s see how the ACLU & leftist politicians would treat an Evictor movement.

jsingood on November 22, 2011 at 1:21 PM

So what happens if someone puts up a Nativity scene on this public property? Can they demand free electricity too? It’s interesting that the ACLU will argue FOR one groups’ freedom of speech and against another groups’. Doesn’t this show some hypocrisy on their part?

UnderstandingisPower on November 22, 2011 at 10:14 AM

ACLU is the All-Communist Liberal Usurpers: what do you expect from them?

They’ll defend to the death the right of Liberals to pee wherever they happen to be.

Come to think of it, all we ever get from Liberals is pee and excrement.

landlines on November 22, 2011 at 2:37 PM

It even mocks how protesters think that soething that is normally against the law is all-of-a-sudden legal when done under protest.

Some choice lines from the episode:

HANK: Don’t tell me that’s covered by the First Amendment.
RANGER BRADLEY: Public defacation is protected as long as they say it’s a political or artistic statement. And they do.

BOBBY: Maybe it’s just like you said: to catch a fish, you have to think like a fish. We just have to think like hippies.
HANK: That is impossible.
BOBBY: Come on, Dad, just try. Okay: I’m a hippie, and I’m naked because I smoked all my clothes.
HANK: Yeah. And I don’t like to work.
BOBBY: Right. I like everything handed to me. I’m just like a kid.

And they do recognize the threat and scourge that is self-reliance:

FRISBEE HIPPIE: Yeah. The thing about self-reliance is, it’s like, bad.

RDuke on November 22, 2011 at 5:00 PM

The county can impose rules on the use of public property and cite people who violate them, but breaking into private property is burglary — and that results in more than just a citation and a fine. It will be much more difficult to explain away a burglary conviction than one for disorderly conduct.

I just had a real bad thought. If enough people do squat in the foreclosed homes and are arrested and convicted, there won’t be enough jail space. There will be probation and early releases. The Cloward-Piven strategy again. And I’m sure the OWS ringleaders have already thought of this.

JimC on November 22, 2011 at 7:20 PM

Supply them with full 14000 volt line voltage and watch the fun of fried hippies.

xplodeit on November 22, 2011 at 8:03 PM

The ACLU can “occupy hell.”

georgej on November 22, 2011 at 10:37 PM

They can have all the free electricity they can harness.

Let them develop the green technologies to take advantage of wind, solar, water, etc. on their own.

profitsbeard on November 23, 2011 at 12:50 AM